South Asian Insider
West Bengal panchayat elections: In record show, TMC wins 34% of seats uncontested
With still a fortnight to go for the three-tier Panchayat elections in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress has already won 34 per cent or 20,076 of the total 58,692 seats unopposed, an all-time record, the State Election Commission announced on Monday. The Mamata Banerjee-led party surpassed the figure of 2003, when the ruling CPI(M) had won 11 per cent of the seats without any contest in the panchayat elections. Following the scrutiny of nomination papers, some of which were sent through WhatsApp after Calcutta High Court orders, it has been found that TMC has won 16,814 of the 48,650 Gram Panchayat seats while the party won 3,059 of 9,217 Panchayat Samity seats uncontested. Moreover, of the 825 Zilla Parishad seats, the Mamata Banerjee-led party has been declared the winner in 203 seats so far. The SEC data revealed that most of the seats where TMC won without any contest are in the districts of Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas. The opposition had alleged that TMC workers attacked their candidates who had gone to BDO offices to file their nominations. (File) Earlier, on April 28, the last date of withdrawal of candidates, SEC statistics showed that TMC has pulled back 9,574 nominations, BJP 5,574 and the CPI(M) has taken back 3,127. The Congress has withdrawn 1,738 candidates, while others and independents have taken back 23,619 nominations. In the seats that are not going to elections, the returning officers have already declared TMC candidates as winners and celebrations have begun in those areas. This year, the panchayat elections will be held in a single phase on May 14 and the counting will be on May 17. The polling was earlier scheduled to be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5. The SEC had to reschedule the election dates following orders of the Calcutta HC after several opposition parties complained of pre-poll violence and the election body’s flip-flop over extending the nomination process. Following court orders, the SEC had set April 23 as the last day to file nomination papers. The opposition had again alleged that TMC workers attacked their candidates who had gone to BDO offices to file their nominations.
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