The Communist parties have alleged that it was violence and rigging of polls that led to Mamata Banerjee's win. Both BJP and the Left Front have filed complaints with the Election Commission in this matter. But the TMC is only the new Left Front of Bengal politics. Mamata has quickly mastered the same dirty tricks employed by the Left parties in the past. Patronising cadre through club culture, appeasement of minorities, rigging elections, these are all tricks she learnt from the Left. Even the so-called goons and party cadre the Trinamool now has have joined the party after resigning from the Left parties. Even with regards to funding, Trinamool has followed the Left parties' model involving membership fees.
Bengal results provide glimmer of hope to opposition
After a string of defeats, the anti-BJP camp finally has a result going its way, with Trinamool Congress clinching victory in the West Bengal municipal elections. Also, BJP hasn't done as well as expected, and it's Mamata Banerjee who rules the roost. It's a question of survival for many parties now. And parties like TMC, TRS, BJD face threats from the BJP in the future as well. These results may hasten process of a united front against BJP. Other alliances and fronts have failed in past, especially against the Congress, but that happened mainly because of a power tussle. Survival was not an issue then. In this situation, however, the glue of survival and threat of extinction may just keep all of them together.
It's true that these were only hyper-local municipal elections, which are typically fought on very micro issues. The profile of the parties doesn't play an important role in these polls. However, the presidential form of elections, which have been introduced by the BJP following Narendra Modi becoming prime minister means even the civic elections are being conducted across the country as a referendum on Modi. With demonetisation and 'sabka saath sabka vikas' being used ahead of the polls, it's clear that BJP wants to highlight Modi's leadership even at a local level.
But if not Modi, the polls definitely are a referendum on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and prove that voters stand by her despite BJP's charges of corruption and minority appeasement.
Final results are out: TMC wins four municipalities, GJM gets three
Of the seven municipal corporations that saw elections, the Trinamool Congress has clinched four seats — Pujali, Domkal and Raiganj in the state's plain areas, and Mirik in the hills of Darjeeling. The GJM retained its control over three other civic bodies in north Bengal's hills: Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
Didi sweeps Bengal again, but will she project herself for a national role?
Trimamool Congress has swept West Bengal once again. Mamata Banerjee is clearly the undisputable leader of the state today. After BJP president Amit Shah's visit to Bengal, and CBI's intervention in the Narada/Saradha scams, she had threatened to uproot BJP from Delhi as well, and looking at the party's rise, there could well be a strong chorus emerging about the need for Mamata to lead an anti-BJP front on the national level. She recently met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also facing the heat from BJP, and with Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding the upcoming presidential polls.
The win is a confidence booster for Banerjee, and improves her national visibility as a firebrand leader who can take on the Modi-Shah jodi. She may be tempted to play a bigger national role, even be named the prime ministerial candidate if the opposition puts up a unified front. After all, if Deve Gowda can become prime minister, why not Mamata, is the logic which TMC cadre will cite.
Congress should look at alliance with Mamata Banerjee to get its mojo back
Meanwhile, the Congress has been decimated in West Bengal, winning just four seats despite an alliance with the Communist parties. The only hope for the Congress seems to be an alliance with Trinamool Congress now, or to ask Mamata Banerjee to join hands to form a grand alliance. Considering Mamata Banerjee is one of the few leaders on the national level who has stopped the Narendra Modi juggernaut from rolling over every opposition, it makes prudent sense for Congress to seek an alliance with her. The Left is in decline, and is anyway not a viable national-level alliance partner for Congress, since the two parties are rivals in Kerala.
With Sonia Gandhi holding talks with Mamata Banerjee over the presidential polls, the time is ripe for Congress to ask her to come back. They can get a good deal, and it will also help Banerjee's national ambitions.
Furthermore, both parties' vote segments are similar and both share a secular ideology, making it an ideal win-win scenario for both.
Celebrations begin as Trinamool cadres hit the roads
Left Front is finished from one more state — Bengal
Left Front continued with its poor performance in Bengal after Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. It managed to win only two wards, lesser than Congress (four) and BJP (three). It is a shocking result considering it ruled the state for 34 years.
Left Parties in India who were formed to deliver socio-economic benefits to the working people and oppose neo-liberal economic policies.
However, it soon became a government of contractors. The party got burdened by cronyism which is the case across political parties and ideologies who have tasted power. Power Corrupts!
The Brahmanisation of the party is being resisted by people of other castes/classes.
Amit Shah had spent a few days in Bengal trying to revive party’s fortunes in the civic elections. However, it failed miserably, winning only three wards. Its partner GJM did well in the hills, its traditional stronghold. Shah had dinner at a Dalit’s home in a pattal. The next day the couple joined the Trinamool.
BJP lacks strong local charismatic leaders. In Bengal, parties who have succeeded carried out agitation politics, rail roko, jams, bandhs. All these work.
Additionally, BJP’s caste manipulations will not work in Bengal. The state is more about class politics. It has failed to understand this despite successive losses. Party’s support is restricted to rich & upper middle class. The poor and lower class swear by the name of Mamata, which is hard to crack.
TMC happy over its performance in Gorkha party-dominated hills
TMC leader Gautam Deb was quoted by News18 as saying, “We are happy that for the first time, people in the hills have voted for a party from the plains. This shows that people in the hills now understand that they were cheated by the GJM.”
TMC makes dent in Gorkhaland, wins Mirik civic polls
TMC has a lot to cheer about in these election results. It has won Mirik, which is in the hills, and a stronghold of Gorkha statehood parties. While TMC won six seats, GJM could win only three. Food for thought for the regional parties. Their factionalism and infighting seems to have helped TMC.
“The victory of TMC in Mirik proves that the people of the hills have reposed their faith in the chief minister. During campaigning, the residents used to tell us that development always bypasses Mirik,” said state public works minister Aroop Biswas.
Mamata is now the 'queen' of Bengal. Her rustic, maverick style is loved by the people. She is seen as the 'Robinhood' who freed state from the corrupt rule of Left. She is the 'Modi' of Bengal. BJP, Left and the Indian National Congress have no chance and hope left after these results.
TMC has won the four municipalities which went to polls recently. All these three are in the plains, in the four municipalities in the hills, TMC was never been strong. She has won 83 percent of the seats in the plains. Clearly, this proves that Narada and Sharada has no impact on her. This also proves that there is no Modi wave in Bengal. The entire propaganda of BJP, Mission Bengal 2021, is all a sham.
TMC euphoric after victory in municipal polls
In a short statement on the election results, the Trinamool Congress took potshots at the BJP stating that the people of Bengal have yet again rejected the opposition forces and ploys to play divisive politics.
“People of Bengal have yet again reposed their faith on the development initiatives of Mamata Banerjee," the Trinamool Congress was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying after reports of its victory trickled in.
Chhetri was backed by Mamata, who was desperate to make an in-road in Darjeeling and break GJM’s monopoly. However, it is to be noted that in the 2016 elections, he had failed to retain his Kalimpong seat.
Jan Andolan Party opens its account by winning one seat in Kalimpong
In what is a revenge of sorts for Harika Bahadur Chhetri, his newly formed party bagged a seat in Kalimpong civic polls. JAP was formed just before 2016 state elections when Chhetri, the then spokesperson of GJM, floated his own party after falling out with Bimal Gurung.
GJM has been spearheading the movement for a separate state of Gorakhland since the 1970s. It is still the most dominant issue in the hills of Bengal.
GJM runs the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), formed through tripartite agreement between GJM, Centre and TMC government in July 2011 and has proven once again that it continues to be the most vocal political force in the hills.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha continues its dominance in the hills
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a constituent of NDA at the center has swept the Darjeeling civic polls bagging 31 out of 32 seats. TMC could sneak in just one seat.
This is in line with the 2016 assembly results when TMC, despite sweeping the entire state, failed to win in the foothills and hills district of Darjeeling. Led by Bimal Gurung the party had won all the three seats – Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong. The Jote (CPM-Congress) alliance had bagged the other three seats.
Trinamool sweeps Bengal civic polls; result shows Left, Congress, BJP offer no threat to TMC's superiority
Trinamool Congress swept Domkol municipality in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, winning 20 out of 21 wards. Along with Raiganj and Pujali, TMC has now wiped out the Left-Congress opposition from all the three municipalities from Bengal's plain areas that went to civic polls. The results make it clear that Left and Congress are no longer a political force in Bengal. It also shows that the BJP still has a long, long way to go before challenging TMC's hegemony. With Domkol, TMC has now bagged four out of seven civic bodies that held elections on Sunday.
Trinamool becomes first party from plains to win Hills in 40 years
In Kurseong municipal elections, Bimal Gurung's Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, which had tied up with the BJP for the civic elections, managed to perform very well, winning 17 out of 20 wards. Trinamool, which tied up with Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), won the rest. But more importantly, Trinamool won from Mirik in Darjeeling district, the first time a party from the plains (albeit with the help of a tie-up with GNLF) has won from the hills in 40 years.
Trinamool wins 20 out of 21 seats in Domkal; BJP gets zero
It's nearly a clean sweep for Trinamool Congress in Murshidabad's Domkal municipal polls, the party clinching 20 out of 21 seats. The Congress-Left Front combine got the one solitary seat to deny a Trinamool whitewash. BJP won zero.
Mamata extends lead, even as Opposition cries foul
In violence-hit Raiganj municipality of Bengal's North Dimapur district, Trinamool Congress won 15 out of 20 wards declared so far. Though the total number of wards are 27, Trinamool already has an unassailable majority in Raiganj. Opposition parties like Left Front, Congress and BJP had demanded a repoll at Raiganj alleging widespread violence. Left leader Surjya Kanta Mishra had said that three CPM workers had sustained bullet injuries during Sunday's polls.
Trinamool clinches violence-hit Pujali municipal corporation
Pujali municipality under the state's South 24 Paragnas district went to Trinamool Congress, with Mamata Banerjee's party winning 12 out of 16 wards. Significantly, BJP won two wards and Congress, which had an unofficial seat-sharing arrangement with the Left Front, just one. Pujali is among the three seats which saw large scale violence during Sunday's polling, with opposition parties accusing TMC of "terrorising voters, rival polling officers and rigging". Asadul Islam, TMC's winning candidate, told a TV channel that this is the win for "Mamata Banerjee's development politics".
TMC storms to early lead on counting day
After early trends suggested a victory for the ruling Trinamool Congress, party leader Subhendu Adhikari told CNN-News18 that the win would be a victory against "communal forces".
Sitaram Yechury calls violence-hit polls a 'mockery of democracy'
Describing the violence and "rampant irregularities" in Sunday's civic polls as a "mockery of democracy", CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday slammed West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress for its "blatant misuse" of the state machinery.
TMC's win a huge setback to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
Six of the nine wards in Mirik municipality went to to Trinamool Congress-Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) alliance, signalling the first time a party from the plains has won the hills of northern West Bengal. Bengal is a state which has witnessed a strong Gorkhaland movement in the past. This is a huge setback for Bimal Gurung's Gorkha Janamukti Morcha and a tectonic shift in politics of the hills.
Kolkata: Moderate to brisk polling for seven civic bodies in West Bengal was reported on Sunday, as the principal opposition parties, the Left Front, Congress and BJP, demanded scrapping of the "farcical" elections amid alleged violence and booth capturing in three municipalities.
Representational image. AFP
A CPM leader claimed that at least four party workers were injured in poll violence.
Activists of the Congress and the Left Front, which forged an undeclared alliance for the civic polls, staged a noisy demonstration at the State Election Commission office and resorted to a road blockade to protest what they called "rampant looting of votes" by the ruling Trinamool Congress.
The protest was held after poll authorities allegedly refused to meet their leaders and accept their memorandum on complaints regarding voting in three municipalities of Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, Domkal in Murshidabad district, and Pujali in South 24 Parganas district.
The SEC officials promised to meet the Congress and Left representatives after demonstrators broke through police barricades. However, the SEC authorities later did not meet them citing their preoccupation with poll matters.
Later, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists also demonstrated at the same spot, complaining against electoral malpractices.
In Domkal, Pujali and Raiganj, the Trinamool is up against an undeclared seat adjustment between the Congress and the Left Front.
Polling was, however, peaceful in four municipalities in northern Bengal hills — Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, in Darjeeling district, and Kalimpong in Kalimpong district.
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra alleged that the elections were far from "free and fair".
"In Domkal, motorcycle-borne outsiders attacked our workers and voters with bombs and pistols. The local administration looked the other way. Since morning, elections have been a farce. Three of our workers were injured when they were fired upon by Trinamool-backed miscreants. Another worker suffered broken limbs," said Mishra.
He alleged that all polling booths were captured by the Trinamool supporters in Raiganj and Pujali.
"The polling agents of the Congress and Left Front were driven out and electronic voting machines damaged. Even journalists were not spared," he said.
He demanded countermanding of the elections in Domkal, Pujali and Raiganj. "But we have no illusion that fresh elections will be impartial. This shows it is not possible to hold proper polls so long as the Trinamool is in power," the CPM leader said.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury instructed all his party candidates in Domkal to withdraw from the polls, describing the elections as a "farce".
Former Congress MP from Raiganj Deepa Dasmunshi alleged that opposition workers came under intense attack from Trinamool supported "goons".
She said genuine voters were not allowed to exercise their franchise in Raiganj. "Police and civil officials made no effort to provide protection to voters or our workers," she said.
The elections to the municipalities spread across five districts in the northern, central and southern areas of the state will provide a peek into the mind of voters in small towns.
The polls are a test for the Trinamool to continue its electoral successes and make fresh inroads in the north Bengal hills by breaking the stranglehold of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The BJP is striving to to carry forward its bid to become the main opposition force in the state. For the Congress and Left Front, the challenge is to revive their political fortunes against the backdrop of electoral battles wherein both lost ground to the BJP.