Zee Media Bureau
Kolkata: Contesting alone in a major poll after parting ways with the Congress in September last year, Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress swept the panchayat elections in West Bengal, establishing its undisputed supremacy in the rural areas of the state.
The results, dealing a huge blow to the Left and the Congress, suggested that two and a half years of incumbency and controversies, including the Saradha chit fund scam, by and large failed to shake the rural people`s faith in the TMC government.
Of the 17 districts, the Trinamool won zilla parishads in 13 districts, the Left in one (Jalpaiguri) and the Congress in one (Murshidabad). The BJP drew a blank.
Out of the 824 zilla parishad seats, the Trinamool Congress bagged 530, the Left Front 209, Congress 78 and others 5. Two results were pending.
The party registered major victories in traditionally red bastions in the south and smashed through the Congress strongholds in the north where the TMC was relatively weak.
The party won the zilla parishads in Howrah, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia, Coochbehar and South Dinajpur districts.
The ruling party registered a huge victory in the three Maoist strongholds in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts.
In adjoining East Midnapore district, the TMC registered a major win except at Nandigram, the cradle of Banerjee`s anti-land acquisition campaign, where the party had to struggle with former Trinamool supporters, who fought as Independents.
In Nandigram block I and block II, out of 17 gram panchayat seats, official Trinamool candidates won 13 seats, while the independents bagged three seats and Left one.
At Singur, the Trinamool bagged 12 out of 16 Gram panchayat seats, with Left bagging just one and putting up a close fight in three others.
In the five districts of North Bengal, which went to polls, the results showed that Trinamool had widened its reach in Congress dominated regions.
The party registered spectacular victories in gram panchayat in Coochbehar and South Dinajpur, while making inroads in the Congress domain in North Dinajpur, the home ground of Congress minister and Mamata`s bete noire Deepa Dasmunsi.
The Left Front which failed to recover much lost ground won Jalpaiguri as the TMC victoriously swept through its bastions in Burdwan, Hooghly, Cooch Behar.
The Left bagged 13 of the 26 seats in the zilla parishad in North Dinajpur.
The Left Front put up a good fight in the districts of North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia.
The Congress conceded ground even in Malda and North Dinajpur where the Left did well.
In Malda district, Congress and the Left won 16 seats each in the zilla parishads with Trinamool coming a distant third with six.
Like zilla parishads, the green wave continued to dominate the rural Bengal in gram panchayat and panchayat samitis too.
Total no. Of Gram Panchayat- 3,215
TMC - 1,745
Total no. Of Panchayat Samiti - 329
LEFT FRONT- 64
Total no. Of Zilla Parishad – 17
LEFT FRONT- 1
With PTI inputs