WB civic polls: Trinamool stuns Left, storms to power in Kolkata

The Left Front is in for a rude shock as the Trinamool Congress is all set to take power in Kolkata and other important civic bodies in the state.

Last Updated: Jun 02, 2010, 14:34 PM IST

Kolkata: Riding the winds of political
change, Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress Wednesday won the
141-ward city municipal corporation polls, 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.

PTI