Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress stole a march over its opponents, winning four civic bodies, while the Left Front and the Congress clinched one each in results announced Tuesday. It was the first major test of popularity of parties after the 2011 assembly polls that saw the end of the 34-year communist reign.
The Left Front, however, retained East Midnapore district’s Haldia municipality located close to Nandigram, where Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had led a successful protest movement in 2007-08 that helped the party to rally the rural voters in the state and unseat the Left from power last year.
Voting for the six civic agencies was held Sunday.
The Trinamool snatched Dhupguri municipality in Jalpaiguri district and Burdwan district’s Durgapur Municipal Corporation from the Left, which tasted its first defeat in 15 years in the two civic agencies. In fact, the Left had retained Dhupguri assembly seat last year.
The Trinamool retained the Panskura municipality in East Midnapore district, but more importantly it triumphed in the Nalhati municipality in Birbhum district where union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s son and Nalhati’s Congress legislator Abhijit led the election campaign.
The Congress had won Nalhati in 2007 but lost control of the board after some of its councillors switched over to the Trinamoool.
For the Congress, the sole consolation was its success in retaining Cooper’s Camp municipality in Nadia district. The Trinamool and the Congress, allies in the central and state governments, fought separately in the civic polls for the first time after the assembly polls.
Soon after the poll results were out, the two parties engaged in a verbal duel. The Trinamool bragged about its ability to go it alone in future elections, while the Congress hit back saying it had no compulsion to continue the alliance.
“The result is a strong indicator of the might of the party and proves that the Trinamool Congress can stand firm on its own feet in West Bengal. It has now been established that the Trinamool Congress can fight and win elections on its own,” Trinamool general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy told media here.
Congress Lok Sabha member Deepa Dasmunsi was quick to counter.
“If they want, they can go it alonethere are no compulsions. Moreover, we won’t have to take responsibility any more for their (Trinamool) wrong decisions. It would really be a relief for us,” Dasmunsi said.
The Left Front, on the other hand, harped on its success in the industrial town of Haldia and hailed it as an answer to the “politics of terror” unleashed by the Trinamool.
“The Trinamool had resorted to the tactics of silent terror to bully the opposition. The win in the Haldia municipality has proved that the people have given an answer to the politics of terror,” said a Left Front statement.
Left Front spearhead Communist Party of India-Marxist also demanded the release of its former MP Laxman Seth and two of his associates jailed for allegedly plotting violent incidents in Nandigram area in 2007.