The Mamata Banerjee-led ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) established a strong lead in the just-concluded panchayat polls across 20 districts of West Bengal. However, in a surprise of sorts, the BJP emerged as the main Opposition, although it has been a distant number two.
Initial trends from Jhargram and Purulia — two south Bengal districts — suggest a tough fight between the two parties at the gram panchayat level.
The BJP has already secured leads in other districts such as Cooch Behar, South 24 Parganas, Uttar Dinajpur and so on.
Both the CPI(M) and the Congress failed to see any major change in their poll fortunes.
However, the ruling TMC continues to be the dominant force in most districts. “People have voted for development and we are leading in a majority of the districts,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
The Bengal panchayat polls took place on May 14 amid widespread clashes between rival political groups leading to the death of at least 12 people. Repolls were also held across 573 booths in 19 of the 20 districts on May 16.