Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Wednesday won four out of seven municipalities that went to polls last Sunday. The party created history as it took control of a Mirik Municipality in the hills and became the first political party from the plains to win an election in the last three decades.
Trinamool Congress bagged Pujali in south 24 parganas, Domkal in Murshidabad, Raiganj in north Dinajpur and Mirik in Darjeeling, sweeping election results in all the four municipalities.
The party won 12 out of 16 wards at Pujali, while the BJP got only 2 wards. TMC won 20 out of 21 wards at Domkal. For the Domkal Municipality, this was the first ever election.
The TMC also swept the Raigani Municipality, which was in control of Congress prior to the election. The party won 24 out of 27 wards. TMC won 6 out of 9 wards at Miric, beating the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
However, the three Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong remained in GJM’s control as it won 31 out of 32 seats in Darjeeling and 17 out of 20 wards in Kurseong. The GJM- BJP alliance won Kalimpong too.
"Mamata Banerjee visited the hills several times and has been able to understand the needs of the people and have been able to convince them about their rights. Mirik has opened the doors of development in the hills and we will take it forward to the other places from here and are sure to fare even better in the hills in the coming years," Aroop Biswas, the state minister and the Trinamool Congress observer for Darjeeling district said.
"We were expecting the wins but the margin of the victory has been satisfying. At Mirik, people had complained that those in power had done little development and had misused the funds so they have voted for us. Our motto is development and that is the path we are going to tread," he said.
Here are the highlights:
The hills are smiling #VerdictOfBengal 4/4— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 17, 2017
Special thanks to Mirik for reposing faith in us. We will work sincerely for you.After so many decades we begin a new era in the hills 3/4— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 17, 2017
Congratulations to my brothers/sisters in hill areas of Darjeeling Kurseong Kalimpong Mirik for participating in the democratic process 2/4— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 17, 2017
Congratulations to Ma Mati Manush for again & again putting their trust in us. We are honored, privileged & humbled #VerdictOfBengal 1/4— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 17, 2017
GJM bags Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. GJM won 31 out of the 32 seats in Darjeeling. Kurseong 17 out of 20. GJM-BJP alliance wrests control on Kalimpong by winning 11 out of 23 wards
Raijang TMC-24, BJP-1, INC+CPI(M)-2; Darjeerling GJM- 31, TMC-1; Kerseong GJM-17, TMC-3; Kalimpong GJM-18, TMC-2
TMC workers celebrate after winning Mirik municipal election. TMC won 6 out of 9 wards, GJM won 3. pic.twitter.com/Mim52TU6tl— ANI (@ANI_news) May 17, 2017
TMC won 18/21 wards in Domkal Municipality under Murshidabad district. INC won 1, CPI(M) 2; all 3 joined TMC later
#VerdictOfBengal Wards declared so far:— AITC (@AITCofficial) May 17, 2017
Mirik 9/9, TMC 6
Domkal 18/21, TMC 18
Pujali 16/16, TMC 12
Raiganj 27/27, TMC 24
(Mirik 9/9, TMC 6) - (Domkal 18/21, TMC 18) - (Pujali 16/16, TMC 12) - (Raiganj 27/27, TMC 24)
Counting begins for the seven municipalities 7:40 AM
"We will have 1 to 2 wards per table and there will be 16 tables. The counting centres for Mirik and Kurseong will be the SDO office, for Darjeeling counting will be conducted at St Roberts High School and for Kalimpong it will be Kalimpong College," sources in the administration said.
According to sources in the commission, there will be seven centres - one each for all the municipalities and it has been decided that all EVMs of one ward will be counted at the same table.
Counting will start at 8 am and is likely to be over by 10.30 am.
While the elections to the four municipal bodies in the Darjeeling hills was generally peaceful, the three towns in the plains saw sporadic violence, with Pujali in South 24-Parganas district bearing the brunt, police and district administration sources said.
The overall turnout was nearly 68 per cent, according to State Election Commission sources. Pujali registered 79.6 per cent voting, the highest out of the seven, while Darjeeling had the lowest of 52 per cent.
Domkal recorded 77.5 per cent, Mirik Notified Area 74.3 per cent, Kurseong 66.1 per cent, Raiganj 66 per cent and Kalimpong had a 58.1 per cent turnout of voters.
The Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is the main opponent of the TMC in Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong and Kurseong, where the ruling party campaigned extensively.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who frequently visits Darjeeling, has taken a keen interest in the municipal polls in the hills, which has for long seen the dominance of hill parties - the Subash Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) followed by Gurung’s GJM.
Raiganj in North-Dinajpur district, Domkal in Murshidabad and Pujali in South 24-Parganas in the plains are having a three-way contest with the Left-Congress combine, the BJP and the TMC being in contention.
(With inputs from PTI)