NEW DELHI : The Trinamool Congress Tuesday registered a landslide victory in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections, winning 134 of the 144 wards. The BJP, which had emerged as the main opposition party in the Assembly polls earlier this year, won three seats, while the Left Front and Congress won two each. The Independents, with three seats, ended an equal footing with the non-TMC parties.
In terms of vote share, there was better news for the Left, as it finished ahead of the BJP. In 2015, when the KMC elections were last held (they were put off last year due to Covid), the TMC had won 124 wards, the Left 13, the BJP 5 and Congress 2.
The TMC got nearly three-fourths of the votes cast (71.95%), the Left Front 11.13% and BJP 8.94%. The Congress got just 4.47% of the votes, while 3.25% people voted for Independents. The TMC not only increased its vote share from the 2015 KMC polls, by as much as 22%, but also saw its votes rise from the March-April Assembly polls, when compared with the KMC wards, by 11%. The BJP’s comparative vote share was 6% below 2015, and 20% lesser than the Assembly polls; and the Left’s 13% less than the 2015 polls, but 7% more than the Assembly elections.
Congratulating TMC workers, West Bengal Chief Minister and party chief Mamata Banerjee said: “It is a victory of democracy and the people. The election was held like a festival. People exercised their franchise peacefully.” The BJP called the results a farce. Spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said sarcastically: “We are surprised. The TMC should have won all the seats given the kind of violence and booth-rigging that took place.”
The Opposition parties, which had sought Central forces to monitor polling, have said their polling agents were driven out of booths and candidates beaten up during Sunday’s voting. Crude bombs went off at three places, leaving three injured. There was about 64% polling and more than 200 arrests. The BJP and CPM have moved the Calcutta High Court seeking fresh elections. The case will be heard on December 23.
Though it won only three seats, the Left emerged second in 65 wards. The BJP came second in 48, the Congress in 16 and Independents in 5. The biggest winner was the TMC’s Faiz Ahmed Khan, whose victory margin was 62,045 votes in Ward No. 66. TMC heavyweights, including former Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, ex-deputy mayor Atin Ghosh, Debasish Kumar, Mala Roy, Tarak Singh and his son and daughter, Paresh Pal, Sushanta Ghosh and Kajari Banerjee, the sister-in-law of Mamata Banerjee, all won.