M A I N   N E W S

Mamata derails CPM in Bengal civic polls
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, June 2
Trinamool Congress today dealt a stunning blow to the ruling Left Front by sweeping the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls, results for which were announced today. Also, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) won a majority of the 80 other municipalities in the district, 17 of them in alliance with the Congress.

In Kolkata and adjoining Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, as also in many of the districts, the allies fought against each other. But the split of votes did not affect the outcome, as the urban electorate handed out a massive mandate to TMC. The civic elections were held last Sunday.

The ruling CPM was routed in most places while the Congress, the Trinamool’s poll partner in the last general election, was also virtually wiped out from even its traditional bastions in Malda, Murshidabad and Raiganj in North Bengal. The Congress even lost the Jangipur municipality, which is under Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Lok Sabha seat.

The jubilant Trinamool chief and Union Railway Minister dedicated the historic victory to her “Ma, Mati and Manus” (mother, land and men) and said the CPM had lost the people’s mandate and hence, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should step down and pave the way for an early election for the state Assembly. While the election is due in May next year, Mamata would like it to be preponed to October.

The demand was quickly rebuffed by the CPM, which pointed out that Sunday’s electorate constituted only 17 per cent of the state’s total electorate. No state government has ever resigned, said Sitaram Yechury in New Delhi, after reverses in civic polls. He added with his tongue-in-cheek that he hoped municipalities in West Bengal would now function better than the Indian Railways.

Mamata said Trinamool was a partner in the UPA and she had great respect for Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh. She hoped she would get moral supports from them in the coming days in TMC’s “battle for democracy” in West Bengal against the CPM. She, however, declined to say if in the Assembly poll, Trinamool Congress would revive the alliance with the Congress.

“We offered them 25 seats in Kolkata but they rejected our offer and l hope now they understand it would have been better for them to accept it,” she said. In this election, the Congress lost in all the seats in Bidhannagar while in Kolkata they somehow managed to win in 10 wards, Mamata said.

The Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister congratulated Mamata for the stellar performance. Mukherjee, who is also WBPCC chief, accepted party’s defeat with humility, adding he hoped that both the Congress and TMC would fight jointly the next Assembly polls and defeat the CPM-led Left Front government.





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