The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) looks all set for a massive victory in West Bengal’s panchayat elections, for which polling was held on May 14. The BJP emerged a distant second in most districts of the state, leaving the CPI(M) and Congress behind as the results poured in last evening.
Of the 31,812 gram panchayat seats where polls were held, TMC had won 20,441 seats (64.2 per cent) and was leading in 315 seats till 9.30 pm on Thursday. The BJP emerged second, winning 5,465 seats (17.1 per cent) and leading in 28 seats. While independent candidates won 1,741 seats, the CPI(M) won 1,415 seats and was leading in 13 seats, and the Congress got 993 seats.
Of the 6,125 panchayat samiti seats which went to polls, TMC won 3,598 seats (58.7 per cent) and was leading in 299 seats. The BJP was second, winning 460 seats (7.5 per cent) and leading in 28, followed by the CPI(M) with 63 seats and leading in 7 seats. Independent candidates won 77 seats and were leading in two seats.
Of the 621 zilla parishad seats, TMC won 159 seats (25.6 per cent) and was leading in 168 seats. While the BJP was leading in five seats, the CPI(M) was leading in only one seat and independent candidates were leading in two seats. However, the final results would be declared by today evening.
Widespread violence during the polls claimed at least 14 lives and left over 40 injured.
Mamata Banerjee said that statements have been given based on the information from their (BJP) party. “They should have cross-checked that 10 of my party workers died. We have filed an FIR in every case. The truth will prevail,” she said.
PM Modi on May 15 denounced the poll violence and killings as a “murder of democracy” and said all parties, except the state’s ruling TMC, were heavily affected by the violence.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on the violence in the West Bengal panchayat polls as ‘unexpected’ and claimed the statements were made without proper checking of facts. At least 12 people had lost their lives while more than 40 other injured during the polls held on May 14.
‘There has been a lot of slanderous propaganda against us. We have been disrespected. Even the Prime Minister has talked on this. We did not expect this from him. A Chief Minister can never say something about the Prime Minister that is unconstitutional. We have a limit. The Prime Minister has criticised us, but I kept mum out of courtesy,’ Banerjee said on Thursday in Kolkata.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh expressed satisfaction over the results, saying they were not bad despite facing “terror” from the nomination phase. “We would have done much better if our candidates had been allowed to submit their nominations and if the ruling party had not killed democracy by using its goons,’’ he said. “The real game will be played in the Lok Sabha elections and we will show that people of Bengal are with us.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hinted at attempts to influence the elections. “Bengal shares its border with Jharkhand, Bihar and Bangladesh. Why people from Bangladesh were brought to the state on the poll day?’’ she asked. “What was BSF doing? Law and order is a state subject. Why were we not informed about it?”
Mamata said large amounts of cash was seized. “Cash was brought from various places.. from Assam, Jharkhand and other places. Who bought this and why was it done during West Bengal panchayat polls?”