The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday swept the panchayat elections in West Bengal. The ruling party won 73% of the gram panchayat seats, 90% of the panchayat samiti seats and 99% of the zilla parishad seats, ABP Ananda reported.
This is the first time in many years that the BJP has been elected to gram panchayats in every district of the state, News 18 reported
The ruling party had won 1,842 of the 2,085 panchayat samiti seats and 62 of the 63 zilla parishad seats declared by 8 pm, Hindustan Times reported. The party had won the zilla parishad polls in Purba Bardhaman and Paschim Bardhaman districts by afternoon.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress had won 90% of the seats despite the unity among Opposition parties, reported News 18. “That shows how solid we are at the grassroots,” Banerjee told reporters. “The BJP created hurdles in every step of my way, moved the High Court and Supreme Court, doing everything possible to stop me from working.” She also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “violating political propriety” by criticising her party at a public forum.
The state Election Commission ordered re-polling at part number 79/80 of Fulbari-1 in Jalpaiguri district after BJP candidate Doli Sutradhar’s counting agent alleged that Trinamool Congress supporters had attacked the leader, ANI reported. The agent also claimed that the Trinamool supporters had looted ballot papers at the counting room.
Clashes continue, Opposition criticises Trinamool
Tension also arose at a counting centre at Mekhligunj in Cooch Behar district. The police fired tear gas shells to bring situation under control. Further, at Domjur in Howrah district, people reportedly tried to rob ballot papers. Earlier in the day, the police baton charged BJP and Congress workers who clashed outside a counting centre in Birbhum, ANI reported. The police seized 40 cellphones at a counting centre in Jalpaiguri Polytechnic, ANI reported.
Trinamool Congress supporters started celebrating by afternoon even though results for many seats had not been declared by then. Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said the Opposition had been blown away by the way people. “It is a good trend for us,” said the party’s Secretary General Partha Chatterjee. “We have said before that the people are with us. But I think it too early to comment as the counting for panchayat samiti seats are yet to be done.”
The counting of votes began at 8 am on Thursday, a day after re-polling was held at 572 booths across 19 districts, in which around 68% of the electorate voted. On Wednesday, Government Railway Police found the mutilated body of an election official identified as Rajkumar Ray on the railway tracks near Raiganj station, Mint reported. District Magistrate Ayesha Rani A said he was reported missing on Monday.
The Trinamool Congress had said that re-polling was held peacefully and in a “free and fair” manner, but the Left and the BJP contested this claim. “Re-polling has been ordered in those booths where Trinamool Congress candidates might lose the polls,” CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.
The BJP said they had demanded re-polling at 2,300 booths.
At least 24 people died and dozens were injured in violence during and after the elections on Monday. The central government has asked for a second detailed report on the violence, saying that the initial report was “sketchy”.