Ten months after its landslide victory in the West Bengal assembly polls, the ruling Trinamool Congress on Wednesday steamrolled the entire opposition in the civic elections, bagging 102 of the 108 municipalities in the state, an SEC official said. The TMC secured Kanthi Municipality, the bastion of Leader of Opposition and Nandigram’s BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari, while Hamro Party, a new entrant in hill politics, trounced TMC, GJM and BJP to win Darjeeling Municipality.
The CPI (M)-led Left Front won Taherpur Municipality in Nadia district. The BJP, which has emerged as the main opposition party in West Bengal after winning 77 seats in the assembly polls last year, failed to win even a single civic body. The Congress, too, was unable to win a single civic body, although the parties have won a few wards in some towns.
“The TMC has won 102 municipalities. The Left Front has won one civic body, and Hamro Party has won one. Four municipalities have hung board,” the State Election Commission (SEC) official said. The TMC has reduced the opposition’s tally to zero in 27 municipalities, securing all the wards.
At least four municipalities Beldanga in Murshidabad, Jhalda in Purulia, Champdani in Hooghly and Egra in Purba Medinipur district are hung, with no party securing a clear majority. Independents hold the key to board formation in these civic bodies. West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday thanked the people of West Bengal for giving a massive mandate to the ruling Trinamool Congress in the civic elections and called upon winning candidates and supporters to work with humility.
“Heart-felt gratitude to Ma-Mati-Manush for according yet another overwhelming mandate to us. Congratulations to the winning candidates of All India Trinamool Congress in the Municipal Elections,” she tweeted. “Let victory enhance our responsibility and dedication. Let triumph impart humility. Let us together work for peace, prosperity and development of the state. Jai Bangla!” Banerjee said in another Twitter post. Suvendu Adhikari and his family faced a massive setback as the TMC snatched Kanthi Municipality, considered the Adhikari family’s backyard for the last four decades.
The LoP’s father, Sisir Adhikari, was the municipality’s chairman for 25 years from 1971- 2009, except for five years from 1981-86. After becoming an MP, he handed the baton to his younger son Dibyendu Adhikari. After Dibyendu Adhikari became an MP in a by-election in 2016, his younger brother Soumendu took over the post.
Hamro Party (our party), a new outfit floated by Ajoy Edwards, a former GNLF leader and a popular restaurateur in Darjeeling, bagged the municipality in the hill town by defeating traditional powers Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, BJP and TMC. Elections were scheduled in 108 municipalities, but took place in 107 civic bodies on February 27 as the TMC won Dinhata Municipality in Coochbehar district uncontested.
Incidents of violence, rigging and clashes with the police were reported from various parts of West Bengal from the north to the south in one of the most extensive electoral exercises in the state since the assembly polls last year. BJP dubbed the poll process as a “mockery of democracy” and called for a 12-hour shutdown on Monday to protest the violence. The TMC rubbished the allegations as baseless and said that opposition parties are trying to find excuses sensing defeat.