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West Bengal: Mamata's grip gets stronger after polls

As Mamata's Trinamool Congress sweeps the panchayat polls in West Bengal, it's time to take a look at what the results mean for the chief minister, the Left and the state itself. Avijit Ghosal writes.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2013 22:38 IST
Avijit Ghosal
Avijit Ghosal
Hindustan Times

As Mamata's Trinamool Congress sweeps the panchayat polls in West Bengal, it's time to take a look at what the results mean for the chief minister, Left and the state itself.

What the Bengal panchayat results mean for Mamata

Despite being a product of the mainline Congress school of politics, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has always believed in and aspired for total control on everything leaving no room for dissent anywhere.

At a fundamental level, the 2013 panchayat results will allow the 57-year old Bengal chief minister to establish that iron control over the party and the government.

Over the past few months there were often murmurs of a faction of the party engineering a split, with the splinter gravitating towards its estranged ally, the Congress.

The panchayat results – where Trinamool will control 13 out the 17 districts, the Left and Congress one each and two hung – will end all speculations of such a possibility.

Congress supporters celebrate the party candidate's victory in panchayat elections at Rampurhat in Birbhum district of West Bengal. (PTI Photo)

She has now proved beyond the doubt of everybody, including the Somen Mitras and Suvendu Adhikaris that Mamata is Trinamool and Trinamool is Mamata.

The results might give her the opportunity of galvanising the party around her for the foreseeable future.

In short, the Mamata magic, lives on, and she will use the wand to turn the aspiring tigers in her party into rabbits.

READ: Mamata sweeps panchayat polls, Left cries foul

READ: Violence in final round of Bengal panchayat polls

Trinamool Congress workers celebrate a party candidate's victory in panchayat polls in South Dinajpur. (PTI Photo)

For the Left

Since the results started flowing in from Monday afternoon, the Left leaders started blaming the terror machine of the ruling party for their poor show.

But they could not explain how could a terror machinery alone ensured such a landslide victory for the Trinamool.

The Left did raise some cogent arguments before the polls, but clearly failed to impress the voters.

The reality is, even if a part of the electorate was convinced about the issues, they simply could not find an alternative to the Trinamool.

The Left has to rediscover itself to make any impression in the voter’s mind. Depending on Mamata’s mistakes to pave their way to power will be a terrible mistake.

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For the state

Bengal stands at the crossroads. If Mamata chooses to concentrate on governance now, the state might have a ray of hope. Otherwise, it will be doomed.

It is all the more true now, as Mamata will lead a Bengal without opposition at any level, assembly or the panchayats.

For Mamata’s political ambitions beyond Bengal

Mamata always wanted a single phase panchayat election with Bengal police as she wanted these results to pave the way for her brute majority to be extended to the Lok Sabha level too – by cornering at least 30 of the 42 seats in the state.

Her objective is clear: she wants to be a kingmaker in New Delhi – if not the queen herself – and get some of the key portfolios such as the railways.

With Rajnath Singh already sounding a welcome for a pre-poll tie up and BJP withdrawing its candidate for the Howrah Lok Sabha bypoll, she might be on the way to strike the right numbers and the right friends.

Supporters celebrate the victory of Trinamool Congress supported independent candidate Prasanta Mukherjee in panchayat elections at Bolpur in Birbhum district of West Bengal. (PTI Photo)

First Published: Jul 30, 2013 08:54 IST