Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s continuing hold over the urban voter was again proved on Tuesday, when her party won in four of the six municipalities that went to the polls on June 3.
The TMC’s victory is significant, especially because the ruling allies in West Bengal, the TMC and the Congress, fought separately in these elections — showing the widening cracks in relations between the two.
Of the six civic bodies, the Trinamool was in sole charge of one (Nalhati in Birbhum district) and shared power in another (Panskura in East Midnapore district).
In Nalhati, Abhijit Mukherjee, the local MLA and son of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, led the Congress campaign.
The only blot on the Trinamool’s record was its failure to wrest Haldia in East Midnapore from Left Front control. Trinamool general secretary and railway minister Mukul Roy tore into the Congress for dividing anti-Left votes in Haldia.
He said, “We were able to retain two municipalities and got two more. This establishes the fact that the people of Bengal are with Mamata Banerjee and we can fight it alone without any national party as our ally. The results have emboldened us to fight the upcoming polls alone.”
But West Bengal Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said, “They (Trinamool) are yet to come out of their illusion. Even today, they are saying they will go it alone. Let them. We would do so too.”
The Congress can take comfort from the fact that its Shankar Singh, a die-hard opponent of Banerjee, played a leading role in decimating the Trinamool in the 12-ward notified area of Coopers Camp in Nadia district.