The Trinamool Congress scored a thumping victory in the panchayat polls, wresting 11 districts from the Left Front and retaining two that it had won in 2008.
The Left Front settled for the lone Jalpaiguri district while the Congress held on to the Murshidabad zilla parishad. Two districts, Malda and North Dinajpur, have given a hung verdict.
The fate of the Malda zilla parishad that was held by the Congress now hangs in the balance as the CPI(M) and Congress secured equal seats. Incidentally, the Trinamool ate into the votes of its estranged ally, thus helping the Left to gain in numbers in both Malda and Murshidabad. In Malda, both Left and Congress won 16 seats out of 38 seats. The Trinamool secured six.
In North Dinajpur, the CPI(M) won 13 zilla parishad seats out of 26, one short of a complete majority. The Congress won eight and Trinamool five seats in the district. Though the Trinamool is traditionally reckoned as a minor force in north Bengal, the party did exceedingly well in all the five districts of north Bengal.
The Trinamool comfortably won the districts of Bankura, Burdwan, Birbhum, Cooch Behar, Hooghly, Howrah, Purulia, South Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas and East and West Midnapore. It faced stiff competition from the Left in Nadia and North 24 Parganas. The Left could retain only Jalpaiguri.
The Trinamool won a total of 508 zilla parishad seats out of 792 seats, the Left 205 and Congress 75. Out of 329 panchayat samitis, the Trinamool secured 214, the Left 66 and Congress 20. The Trinamool could win 1,783 gram panchayats out of 3,215; Left 708; Congress 233 and BJP 7.
With the panchayat win, the cycle of poriborton that was witnessed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and 2011 assembly elections, became complete. Even as trends emerged on Monday evening giving Trinamool a clear edge in the gram panchayats, state industry and commerce minister predicted the party would win 13 zilla parishads.
“The Congress, CPI(M) and BJP had an unholy nexus, but the people defeated them. The Trinamool had to fight many forces but ultimately emerged victorious,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee said soon after the victory.