Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

TMC Sweeps Municipal Polls Amid Allegations of Vote Rigging

TMC’s biggest victory was in Siliguri, where it won 37 out of 47 seats.

Representational use only.

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) decimated the Opposition in the polls to the municipal corporations of Bidhannagar, Chandannagore, Asansol and Siliguri on Monday by capturing 97% of votes in some wards amid allegations of rigging. While voting was peaceful in Siliguri and Chandannagore, there were reports of irregularities and vote loot in Asansol and Bidhannagar. 

TMC’s biggest victory was in Siliguri, where barring four seats won by the Left, five by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one by the Congress, the party bagged all the other 37 seats. During the last election in 2015, the Left had won 23 seats, CPI(M) 21, TMC 17, Forward Block 1, RSP 1, Congress 4, BJP 2 and one was won by an independent candidate.

Amongst the heavyweights who lost in Siliguri were Ashok Bhattacharya and Mukul Sengupta of CPI(M) and BJP’s current MLA Sankar Ghosh and leader Nantu Pal. Admitting defeat, Bhattacharya said that the CPI(M) was rejected by voters in Siliguri.

In Bidhannagar, the TMC won 39 out of 41 seats with neither the CPI(M) nor the BJP opening their account and the Congress and an independent winning one seat each. In Asansol, the TMC bagged 91 out of 106 seats with the BJP winning seven, Congress three, CPI(M) two and independents three each. In Chandernagore, the TMC won 31 of the 32 seats with the CPI(M) winning only one ward.

The Opposition alleged that the TMC won Bidhannagar and Asansol through widespread rigging and vote looting. A number of Left candidates were attacked and injured on the polling day in Asansol.  

Compared to the last Assembly elections in these districts, the Left increased its vote share in the February 12 polls from 9% to 14%. In Chandannagore, where it won just one seat, the Left was the runner-up at all the other 30 wards. In Bidhannagar, the Left was again second in most of the wards.

After the results were declared, CPI(M) Central committee member Rabin Deb during a press conference strongly condemned “the use of anti-social elements to loot votes” especially in Asansol, where Left workers were attacked. He also accused the State Election Commission of “failing” to conduct free and transparent elections. “Still the Left is progressing slowly but steadily in elections,” he said citing the comparative increment in vote share compared with the 2021 Assembly elections.

The state BJP termed the elections as the “burial of democracy” with party president Sukanta Majumdar threatening to approach the High Court.

Senior TMC leader and state agricultural minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay told Newsclick that the TMC won the elections due to Banerjee’s leading role in solving the problems of common people through schemes like Duare Sarkar, Parai Samadhan, Kanyashri, Laxmi Bhandar and others. “She has provided dignity to the poor and hence victory was,” he said.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram