With the CPI(M) having withdrawn all nominees, citing Trinamool terror, the ruling party romped to victory in the Burdwan municipal polls on Tuesday, condemning the Left to its worst defeat in the history of civic elections in the district.
The defeat marked a numbing fall for the CPI(M) in a district deemed a Left citadel for over three decades.
With the Left having pulled out all nominees in fray for the 35 civic wards, Trinamool staged a clean sweep in the district.
While the CPI(M) drew a blank in the fight for Burdwan civic board, Trinamool took 11 of 16 seats in fray for the Guskara municipality.
Accusing the ruling party of unleashing terror at all civic wards in the run-up to the elections and stepping up excesses on opposition candidates, especially of the Left, the CPI(M) announced withdrawal of all nominees on election day. However, the decision did cause some heartburn among a section of party leaders and cadres in the district, said sources.
Several top voices in the Left camp reportedly voiced their dissent in the wake of the pullout call and held the move as being akin to ceding ground to the opponent.
Trinamool’s sweep has already set off murmurs in the CPI(M) camp on whether the party had at all been willing to contest the polls.
Some have reportedly voiced doubt on whether the CPI(M) had the requisite organisational strength to challenge the Trinamool in the district.
Still more are dubious on whether the party could recover lost ground in future poll battles, especially in the light of losing the reins of civic administration.
However, with the Trinamool now at the helm, there are fears on whether it would resort to similar ploys against opponents as the Left when in power.
The locals too have voiced fears of the Trinamool falling back on the tried and tested terror routine to keep hold of the civic reins and extend its sphere of influence in the district.
However, top voices in the ruling camp sought to dispel fears of the Trinamool toeing the Left line, saying they respect the people’s mandate and would work for them.
Local Trinamool leader Swapan Debnath had been quoted as saying before the polls that a rousing victory for Trinamool would come as the perfect Puja gift for chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her key party lieutenants.
Minister Rabiranjan Chattopadhay thanked the people of Burdwan for bringing an end to the Left Front reign and giving a rousing mandate to the ruling party.
The civic polls in neighbouring Nadia too saw a green wave, with the Trinamool taking all 21 seats in fray for the Chakdaha civic board.
TMC fails to make inroads in urban areas of North Bengal
Results of the five municipal elections in North Bengal proved that the Trinamool Congress is yet to make inroads in the urban belt of the region while the party can take solace as it has defeated the Left Front in Balurghat, South Dinajpur district.
The results have given a fresh hope to the Left Front in North Bengal as it managed to retain the Mekhliganj Municipality.
The results have also shown that the Congress is still a force to reckon with in North Bengal.