‘Trinamool reigns in the heart of Bengal,’ says Mamata after emphatic win in panchayat polls


New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ruling party has emphatically won the violence-scarred rural council elections, a feat the Trinamool Congress supremo called a “victory for her revered people”.

In a Facebook post, Banerjee thanked voters for their “tremendous support and love”, adding that the results of the panchayat elections had once again proved that her party “reigned in the hearts of the Bengali people”.

Elections to the three-tier rural councils – the gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads – were held on 8 July and counting began on the 11th.

Results declared by the state election commission till 8 am Wednesday showed the Trinamool had won 34,359 gram panchayat seats of the total 63,229. The party was leading in 752.

Its nearest rival BJP won 9,545 and was leading in 180 seats. The CPI (M) won 2,885 and was leading in 96 seats, while the Congress bagged 2,498 seats and was leading in 72.

Of the 9,728 panchayat samiti seats, the Trinamool won 6,134 and was leading in 61. BJP won 939 and was ahead in 149 seats, while the CPI (M) won 165 seats and was leading in 14 others. The Congress won 244 seats and led in seven.

Of the 928 zila parishads, the Trinamool won 554and led in 201. The BJP won only 19 and was leading in seven. The CPI(M) won two and was leading in two more, while the Congress won four and led in 10.

The polls saw tremendous bloodshed with at least 33 deaths since elections were announced last month. On poll day Saturday, 15 died of which 11 were from the ruling party.

Governor C.V. Ananda Bose asked for central forces to monitor the polls in Bengal, and said Tuesday that “violence and corruption” were the state’s two biggest enemies.

Bose also met Union minister Amit Shah Monday evening, the day repolling was held in 696 seats after allegations of booth tampering.

The Governor, who has been in the cross hairs of the Trinamool for his public rebukes, added Tuesday that “political parties should realise that elections were not the grounds to examine one’s physical strength”.

Bengal has had a long history of violent rural polls with 40 people killed in a single day of polling in the 2003 panchayat elections, news agency PTI reported, but this year it drew national attention as the main challenger was the BJP.

Meanwhile, state BJP President Sukanta Majumdar held a sit-in protest late Tuesday night outside a counting centre in South dinajpur district.

He accused the Trinamool of fabricating results and said he would move legally. “The ruling party has brought criminals inside the counting centre to help their candidates win,” Majumdar said.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Tuesday called the violence “state sponsored” and claimed that 45 people had died so far in the election process.

Patra told the media in Delhi that these killings were “institutional murders”.

Also read: TMC sweeps Bengal rural polls with 18k+ gram panchayat seats. BJP, CPIM-Congress compete for 2nd place



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