West Bengal panchayat polls: TMC wins 34% seats uncontested; party terms it victory for masses, opposition decries it as 'farce'

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal won several seats in the gram panchayat polls after the State Election Commission (SEC) released the list of uncontested seats.

West Bengal panchayat polls: TMC wins 34% seats uncontested; party terms it victory for masses, opposition decries it as farce

File image of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

The data released by the West Bengal SEC shows that 34.2 percent or 20,076 of the 58,692 seats (going for polls in May) have gone uncontested in the upcoming panchayat elections. A majority of the uncontested seats have been automatically won by candidates of the ruling TMC, News18 reported.

According to SEC sources quoted by PTI, of the 48,650 seats in 3,358 gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested.

In the 20 zilla parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested, they said.

The election to the remaining seats will be held on 14 May.

The TMC had filed 1,000 nominations for the zilla parishads, followed by the BJP with 782. The CPM and the Congress had filed 537 and 407 nominations respectively. The last date to withdraw nominations ended on 28 April. There were 134 withdrawals in the TMC camp, followed by BJP with 153 withdrawals, CPM with 79 and Congress with 54.

For the panchayat samitis, the TMC had filed 12,590 nominations, BJP 6,149, CPM 4,400 and Congress 1,740. Of these, there were 2,407 withdrawals by the TMC, 931 by BJP, 558 by CPM and 301 by Congress.

For the gram panchayats, the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had filed 58,978 nominations, BJP 27,935, CPM 17,319 and Congress had nominated 7,313 candidates, sources told PTI. There were 7,033 withdrawals by TMC, 4,490 by BJP, 2,490 by CPM and 1,383 by Congress, they added.

The highest number of uncontested wins have been recorded in Birbhum district, according to News18. The TMC had filed more nominations than the number of seats in all the three tiers.

"There are many aspirants for party tickets. So many people had filed nominations. The TMC's symbol will be allotted only to those who have been asked by the party to contest," a senior TMC leader said.

Meanwhile, the party leadership termed the victory in the uncontested seats a victory for the masses.

However, BJP's state president, Dilip Ghosh, alleged that due to the "unprecedented reign of terror" unleashed by TMC, the Opposition candidates could "neither file nominations nor were they allowed to contest".

"Our candidates were threatened with dire consequences if they did not withdraw, so some of them had to give in," he said.

Senior CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty also alleged that the TMC had turned the gram panchayat polls into a "farce".

The first panchayat polls in the state were held in 1978. The total number of uncontested wins from 1978 to the last elections in 2017 (eight panchayat elections), the figure is 23,185. That number has been nearly matched in this year's polls alone.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 30, 2018 15:03:38 IST

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