TMC leads in Bengal panchayat polls

TMC leads in Bengal panchayat polls

Amid apprehensions of widespread violence across West Bengal, results for the recently-concluded three-tier panchayat polls started coming out on Monday, indicating that votes have mostly gone in favour of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

As results started pouring in, the ruling party seemed to have swept through most districts in south Bengal. The picture will be clearer by Tuesday, said sources in the State Election Commission (SEC).

The TMC outflanked the Opposition in the south Bengal districts of Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and Bankura, east and west Midnapore, besides having a comfortable lead in Birbhum. The party also made its mark in North and South 24 Parganas, although the Left seems to be gaining ground in its earlier strongholds. At places which turned into political flashpoints in Bengal in the last few years—Singur, Nandigram, Loba and Sashan—the TMC emerged victorious.

Urging the state government to stand guard, the Home Ministry issued an alert, stating that violence could spread to some districts which are otherwise politically stable. The administration apprehends violence in districts like Malda and Murshidabad, where tension is high and the TMC has been relegated to a backseat. At both Malda and Murshidabad, the Congress is leading, with the Left coming a close second. But the TMC failed to mark its presence.

While the Left is leading in Jalpaiguri district, the Congress is leading in north Dinajpur. The TMC is leading in south Dinajpur and poised for a sweeping victory at Cooch Behar. The Home Ministry sounded an alert for the state government, stating that political clashes might increase after the election results are declared. Leaving the government somewhat red in the face, the note from the Centre also suggested that adequate police arrangements be put in place to keep in check factional feuds within the ruling party.

The Home Ministry further recommended that winning candidates should refrain from taking out victory rallies.

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