Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has won 34% of the panchayat seats in West Bengal’s local elections without contest, NDTV reported. The last day to file the nominations was April 28.
The ruling party’s were the only candidates to file nominations for 20,076 of the 58,692 seats by the deadline on April 28, News18 reported.
Elections to the three-tier local governance system comprising the zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, and gram panchayats are scheduled for May 14 and the results will be declared on May 17.
“Without the eggs hatching, chickens are born,” News18 quoted Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as saying. “This is a glaring example of the mockery of democracy, an eloquent testimony of the butchery of electoral rights of the common people.”
The elections have been mired in controversy, with several clashes being reported between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress workers while candidates were filing nomination papers for the elections. The BJP as well as other Opposition parties have accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of preventing their candidates from filing nomination papers.
On April 20, the Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal Election Commission to issue new dates for candidates to file nominations for the panchayat polls. Earlier, on April 12, the court stayed all panchayat election processes and asked the state Election Commission to file a status report.