Bengal civic polls: TMC wins four civic bodies, GJM-BJP alliance bags three
The seven civic bodies in West Bengal spanned 148 wards that held elections on May 14.india Updated: May 17, 2017 21:21 IST
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress notched up significant victories on Wednesday when results of elections to seven civic bodies showed it getting a first foothold in the northern hills region.
The party won the Mirik municipality, part of the Darjeeling hills that have been a stronghold of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), and the three civic bodies that went to polls in the plains.
The GJM, which was in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, retained the rest of the hill municipalities that went to polls: Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
In addition to Mirik, Trinamool won Raiganj, Domkal and Pujali in the plains.
The Raiganj civic body was under Congress rule for 15 years before the Trinamool routed it on Wednesday.
The seven civic bodies spanned 148 wards that held elections on May 14.
“Thanks to Mirik for reposing faith in us. We will work sincerely for you. After so many decades we begin a new era in the hills,” the chief minister tweeted after the results.
“Congratulations to Ma Mati Manush for again & again putting their trust in us. We are honored, privileged & humbled”, she said in a subsequent post.
The GJM-BJP won 72 wards, or 46.6%, and the Trinamool won 68 (46%).
“It’s the victory of the demand for Gorkhaland,” said GJM president Bimal Gurung, who said the credit for the party’s win in the hills did not rest with him alone.
Gurung expressed doubts on how results of Mirik polls was announced before 9 AM.
The Left-Congress alliance suffered the biggest defeats.
In Domkal municipality, the combine won three wards but within hours, two of the winners —Ashadul Islam and Rafiqul Islam — switched to the Trinamool.
State Congress president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the results are not a reflection of genuine mandate. “Rather it is the reflection of blatant vote looting through intimidation of voters at gunpoint,” he said.
Left leader Sujan Chakraborty echoed Chowdhury. “It has been proved again that free and fair polls under this government will never be possible in West Bengal”.
Former BJP state president Rahul Sinha said BJP’s victory was certain in Pujali had there been no violence on poll day. “Even in Raigunj and Domkal, BJP’s results would have better. It is the victory of hooliganism,” he said.
The Trinamool, however, said the results were a reflection of the state government’s performance.
“Our victory at Mirik also proves that besides the plains, the people of hills have started adoring Trinamool Congress on the development issue,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.
First Published: May 17, 2017 16:41 IST