Mamata's TMC sweeps Kolkata civic polls, BJP-Left-Cong restricted to single digit
Kolkata/IBNS: Maintaining its dominance over West Bengal politics, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday registered a landslide victory in Kolkata civic elections, which were marred by sporadic violence on the polling day, leaving the opposition parties in disarray.
The TMC, which was aggressive in its campaign throughout, are leading/winning in 134 out of 144 wards, to run the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) for the third straight term since 2010.
West Bengal Minister and outgoing Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim won from Ward 82 for the fifth term as a councillor.
Hakim, 62, became the Mayor of the cosmopolitan city in Dec 2018 after his predecessor Sovan Chatterjee stepped down following the TMC leadership's direction.
"We have never achieved such a big victory in the KMC elections... Our responsibilities have increased," said Hakim, flanked by his wife and three daughters who spearheaded his campaign.
While TMC heavyweight Tarak Singh has won from Ward 118, his daughter Krishna Singh and son Amit Singh have won from Ward 116 and 117 respectively.
State minister Chandrima Bhattacharya's son Saurav Basu has won from Ward 86 while key candidate Sushanta Ghosh registered a victory from Ward 108.
In Ward 119, TMC candidate Ananya Bandyopadhyay won by a record margin of over 37,000 votes. "We have 60,000 electorates so the margin is big," said Bandyopadhyay when asked about her win.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's sister-in-law Kajari Banerjee has won from Ward 73.
Banerjee, who remained calm and poised even after the win like a seasoned politician, said, "The election was held as a festival of democracy. It’s a victory for democracy.”
“We will more submissively and humbly work for people who have shown more support to us."
Her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who is also the TMC national general secretary, tweeted, "People of Kolkata have once again proven that politics of HATE & VIOLENCE have NO PLACE in BENGAL!
"I thank everyone for blessing us with such a huge mandate. We are truly humbled and shall always remain committed in our goals towards YOUR BETTERMENT! Thank you Kolkata."
People of Kolkata have once again proven that politics of HATE & VIOLENCE have NO PLACE in BENGAL!— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) December 21, 2021
I thank everyone for blessing us with such a huge mandate. We are truly humbled and shall always remain committed in our goals towards YOUR BETTERMENT!
Thank you Kolkata 🙏
The Opposition, which cried foul over the violence on the polling day, was left in tatters seven months after the TMC stormed back to power in the state.
The battle which seemed an uphill task for the Opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left and Congress have added only seven seats together.
The BJP, which is the only recognisable opposition party in the state assembly, performed poorly to relegate to the third position in 60 odd seats of the ones won by the TMC.
The only face-saver for the saffron camp was its stronghold wards which were won by veteran Meena Devi Purohit (Ward 22), Bijay Ojha (Ward 23) and Sajal Ghosh (Ward 50).
This is Purohit's sixth straight win as a councillor candidate in Kolkata where the saffron brigade's organisational strength is no match to the ruling party.
Dubbing the civic polls as a farce citing the violence, which had injured two people last Sunday, BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, "We are surprised to see this result. It is unexpected. The TMC should have won all the seats given the kind of violence and booth rigging that took place on the day of polling."
Two crude bombs were hurled outside Taki High School in Sealdah area on the polling day, injuring two voters.
The incident had prompted the TMC and Congress to hold each other responsible.
In a surprise, the Left, which was routed in the state elections, managed to win only two seats but clawed back some of the votes believed to have moved to the BJP in recent years.
The two Communists who have won are CPI's Madhuchanda Deb in Ward 92 and CPI-M's Nandita Roy in Ward 103.
Though it is far away from even challenging Banerjee's TMC in electoral politics as of now, the Left's emergence as the first challenger to the incumbent in 60 odd seats surpassing the BJP is considered "significant" in terms of the Opposition voters' choice by some analysts.
The Left's small resurgence is termed as a tactic by the TMC by the BJP.
"The false votes cast by the TMC workers have helped the Left. A section of the false votes were also cast for the Left," claimed BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar.
Dubbed as "sandwich" by the TMC chief, the Congress has managed to win two seats while three Independents pulled off their victories in almost one-sided polls held in the 2021 winter.
However, the three Independents are likely to join the TMC, which will pick its Mayor-elect on Thursday.