Trinamool storms to power in Kolkata civic polls

Trinamool storms to power in Kolkata civic polls

Kolkata: Riding the winds of political change, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress won the 141-ward city municipal corporation polls on 2 May, inflicting a crushing blow to the ruling Left Front in the civic elections, dubbed as a semi-final before next year’s Assembly polls.

In Sunday’s election to a total of 81 civic bodies across 16 districts in West Bengal, TC also tasted success in the districts where it alone bagged 20 of 43 municipalities, the results for which were available till noon.

The party bagged another eight civic bodies where it had local-level seat adjustment with the Congress.

The Left Front registered wins in 12 municipalities while Congress lagged behind winning only in three.

The Trinamool Congress, which had already won two-thirds majority in the 141-member KMC, will not need the support of the Congress to rule Kolkata where her party has already captured 94 of the 135 wards the results of which were available.

The Left Front which was in power in KMC with 75 wards has managed to win in only 29 wards.

The Congress has so far got nine and the BJP three seats.

In the 2005 KMC polls, Left parties had won 75 seats, TC 42, Congress 21 and BJP three.

Congratulating Banerjee on her party’s performance, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the West Bengal Congress chief, said he accepted the people’s verdict.

Mukherjee, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, said till the final results were out, it would be difficult for him to assess the “net loss or net gain" of the Congress, but said his party had lost some and gained some municipalities out of the 14 it held earlier.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Mamata Banerjee for her excellent performance both in Kolkata and also in the districts. I accept the failure of the Congress to perform up to the expectations which we had. I accept the verdict of the people with all humility," Mukherjee said.

Elated over Trinamool’s success, Banerjee demanded immediate Assembly elections, saying Left Front major CPI(M) has lost all rights to continue in power.

Terming her party’s success as “historic", she told reporters after arriving from Delhi, “It is a victory of the ma-mati-manush (mother, land and the people). They have given a verdict in favour of political change in the state. I salute the people."

In an obvious reference to her party’s failed alliance with Congress for the KMC polls, Banerjee said, “In this election, we had to fight against the ruling party and three to four other forces."

The Trinamool Congress has not only dislodged the CPI(M) from power in the KMC, in the adjoining Salt Lake (Bidhannagar) municipality the erosion of the Left’s support base was more pronounced with Banerjee’s party bagging 16 of the total 25 wards. Left Front got a poor nine.

In the 2005 election when the municipality had 23 wards, the Left Front had won in 18 and Trinamool in five.

The CPI(M) was almost decimated in the red belts of the North 24-Paraganas district, where there are 21 municipalities, and in Hooghly district where there are 12.

In North 24-Paraganas district, results of 16 municipalities have been declared of which Trinamool captured 12. Left Front secured only three and Congress one.

In Hooghly district, Trinamool routed the Left Front in 11 of the 12 municipalities including the Chandannagore Municipal Corporation.

For the ruling Left Front, which was in power in 55 out of the 81 municipalities, it was an opportunity to recover lost ground after the string of electoral defeats it suffered since the 2008 panchayat polls and last year’s Lok Sabha election.

The polls were very much a prestige fight between Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee who failed to clinch a seat-sharing deal.

The 141-ward KMC election had generated much bitterness between the two allies with barbs flying thick and fast between the two leaders.

The major losers in Kolkata included the deputy mayor of the KMC Left Front’s Kalyan Mukherjee, mayor-in-council members Abu Sufian and Faiz Ahmed Khan.

Trinamool Congress leader and leader of Opposition Javed Khan and Congress leader Pradip Ghosh lost in the KMC elections. Ghosh was among some partymen who had launched a hunger strike for seat adjustment with Trinamool on ‘honourable terms´.

Trinamool’s new face Rukbanur Rahman, brother of the computer graphic teacher Rizwanur Rahman, who had died under mysterious circumstances, lost in the KMC election.