TMC Sweeps Bengal Panchayat Elections Amidst Violence: Mamata's Party Claims Rural Victory
In a resounding victory, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has emerged victorious in the high-stakes rural body elections held in West Bengal on July 8. The TMC, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has secured a massive win, claiming 31,526 out of the 63,229 gram panchayat seats. The counting of votes is still underway across districts. With this triumph, the TMC has dominated the panchayat elections, demonstrating its strong support base in rural areas. Mamata Banerjee expressed gratitude to the people of West Bengal for their overwhelming support in the elections.
However, the election process was marred by violence and political clashes, resulting in the tragic loss of lives. Since the announcement of the panchayat polls early last month, over 33 individuals lost their lives in political confrontations throughout the state. The clashes continued during the voting, and the violence persisted even during the counting process. To investigate the incidents of violence, a fact-finding team from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by former Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, is arriving in Kolkata today. The delegation aims to visit the violence-affected areas and gather information from victims to assess the ground situation accurately.
The repercussions of the violence were evident in the clash between the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and the police in Bhangore, South 24 Parganas district. Three individuals, including two ISF activists named Rezaul Gazi and Hasan Mollah, lost their lives, while several policemen sustained injuries during the altercation that erupted near a vote-counting center.
The election witnessed a substantial turnout, with 80.71 percent of voters exercising their franchise in over 61,000 booths across the state. The opposition parties, however, faced defeat, with the BJP securing a distant second position. The BJP managed to win 8,540 Gram Panchayats and 964 Panchayat Samiti seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) secured the third spot with 2,640 panchayats and 172 panchayat samiti seats. The Indian National Congress secured 2,251 panchayat and 256 panchayat samiti seats.
The opposition's performance was particularly poor in the Zila Parishad (ZP), the highest tier of the three-tier panchayat raj system. The TMC is poised to gain control of all the 22 district Zila Parishads in the state. With 608 Zila Parishad seats, the TMC emerged as the clear winner, while the BJP managed to secure only 19 seats. The Congress and CPIM have failed to achieve double-digit figures, securing 6 and 2 seats, respectively.
The BJP's fact-finding team, led by Ravi Shankar Prasad, has arrived in Kolkata and is committed to visiting the violence-affected areas and meeting the victims. The team will submit a detailed report to the party president, JP Nadda, outlining their findings and assessments.
The results of the Bengal Panchayat Election 2023 reflect the TMC's dominant position in rural areas, highlighting the continued popularity of Mamata Banerjee's party among the voters. However, the prevalence of violence during the elections raises concerns about the state's political environment and the need for further investigation into the incidents.