In Mamata's Bengal, BJP emerges as principal opponent

In this contest of no surprises, it is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has managed to turn heads.

In Mamata's Bengal, BJP emerges as principal opponent
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Kolkata: Within the first few hours of counting, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) established a strong lead in the West Bengal Panchayat Election results 2018, with all the opposition parties lagging far behind. Even before polling took place, the TMC had already won more than one-third of gram panchayat seats – a clear indication of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC's penetration at the grassroots. If the pre-poll predictions come true, TMC should win the elections by a huge margin.

In this contest of no surprises, it is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has managed to turn the heads. Since Communist Partry of India-Marxist (CPM) washout from power in 2011, the party has barely managed to hold the fort, it's fortunes dwindling further. The story is no different for the Congress.

Emerging election trends clearly point towards BJP as the second closest opponent to TMC, albeit a distant one.

By noon, Trinamool registered a victory in over 2,400 gram panchayat seats, followed by BJP in 386 seats respectively. 

After Left's last bastion fell in Tripura earlier this year, BJP leaders in Bengal rejoiced, with state president Dilip Ghosh openly proclaiming that the party's next stop is Bengal. 

Following the large-scale violence across the state that led to the death of at least 12 and over 40 injured, Ghosh tweeted:

BJP still has a long way to go establish itself in the state. But the party is now Trinamool's only opposition.

In the ongoing state rural election counting, sporadic incidents of unrest were reported from certain districts like Nadia where a group of miscreants allegedly ran away with ballot boxes.

The polling for Bengal panchayat polls took place on Monday amid reports of widespread violence and clashes between rival political groups that led to repolling in 573 booths in 19 of the 20 districts on Wednesday.

According to the state administration, 12 people lost their lives on the polling day among which death of six people were confirmed to be due to poll violence.

However, opposition political parties and a section of the media claimed the death toll on the polling day had gone up to 21, while five more people died on the next day.

With agency inputs

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