The winds of political change blowing over Bengal turned into a hurricane on Wednesday, wiping out any semblance of a Left fightback in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and 80 other municipalities in the state.
This result leaves the rout of the Left Front in rural, semi-urban and urban Bengal virtually complete, when combined with those of the panchayat polls in 2008, the Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly bypolls. It also sets up the stage for the assembly elections in the state in October next year.
Sensing the political opportunity in her win, Mamata demanded immediate elections in the state.
“The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has lost the moral right to rule. We want early state elections,” she said soon after landing in Kolkata from Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Left leaders accepted the defeat and said they would look into the reasons.
Cold statistics tells the story of the Left drubbing.
In Kolkata, the Trinamool romped home with 95 seats in the 141-ward KMC, its best-ever performance. In 2005, the Mamata’s nominees had won from 42 wards.
The Left — which had 75 members in the KMC — managed only 33 seats, its worst-ever showing since the KMC was formed.
There are lessons for the Congress as well. It had decided not to go into an alliance with the Trinamool this time, peeved at Mamata’s denied of what it called a legitimate share of seats in keeping with its national status. The Congress went ahead and contested 115 wards, managing to win only 10 among them, down 11 seats from 2005.
If the Kolkata Red bastion was breached with relative ease, adjoining Bidhannagar (Salt Lake) Municipal Corporation proved to be a walkover for the Trinamool. The party swept what is known as a CPI(M) citadel by a 16-9 margin (total wards: 25).
The story was repeated in the 79 other municipalities spread over 15 districts. Left-controlled civic bodies fell like ninepins in the face of the Trinamool onslaught, the debacle cutting across geographical and people profiles.
Industrial zones in North and South 24-Parganas and Hooghly, considered Left strongholds, voted against the CPI(M), so did the minority community.
The analysis of the results show that Mamata managed to win 9 of the 16 Muslim-dominated wards in Kolkata and the Left a mere 4, a complete reversal of the 2005 scenario.
While Mamata is justifiable elated with the outcome, the Congress was guarded in its response.
Even as the results were coming in, Pranab Mukherjee, who spearheaded his party’s poll campaign, told reporters in Delhi, “I congratulate Mamata for this victory. We have indeed fared badly.”