Despite the overwhelming win in the recently-concluded panchayat polls across Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress drew a blank in at least two gram panchayat seats and secured a single vote in four others.
The Congress fared worse with its candidates securing zero or one vote in over twodozen gram panchayat seats in the state.
All other major political parties in the fray - the BJP, SUCI, CPI(ML)-Liberation, West Bengal Samajwadi Party, BSP and All India United Democratic Front - fared similarly drawing a blank or a single vote of the candidates themselves.
Various theories, from bad choice of candidates to sabotage, are being attributed to explain the ignominy. In two seats of Chandra gram panchayat in Purulia, the father-son duo of Shashadhar Mahali and Rabi Mahali - both Congress candidates - together polled a single vote.
While Rabi could manage to secure one vote, his father failed to do even that.
“We are not residents of the seats we contested from. We are four members in the family and our party instructed us to stand for elections from four different seats, as it could not find local candidates. This is the reason we could not perform well.
Also the party did not provide us funds for campaigning. I will complain to the higher-ups about this,” an angry Rabi Mahali told HT.
In seat number 9 of Bhadrapur-I gram panchayat in Birbhum’s Nalhati-II, Trinamool candidate Hemonto Konai failed to get even a single vote. Aktarul Sheikh, ruling party candidate in seat number 5 at Imamnagar in Murshidabad’s Farakka, suffered a similar fate.
The seats were won by CPI(M) and Congress respectively.
The Trinamool secured a lone vote in seat number 2 in Bara-II gram panchayat in Nalhati-II, seat number 15 at Rajdanga in Mal in Jalpaiguri district, seat number 4 at Tulsihatta in Haldibari in Cooch Behar and seat number 3 at Brittihuda in Nadia’s Chhapra.
“In Nalhati-II, we suffered reverses due to poor selection of candidates by the district president (Anubrata Mondal). The candidate in Bara-II, Amir Hossain, leave alone campaigning, later switched over to the Congress after filing nomination,” complained Mohammad Giasuddin, Birbhum Trinamool vice-president.