With still a fortnight to go for the three-tier Panchayat elections in the state, the Trinamool Congress has won an unprecedented over 34 per cent of the seats uncontested.
With the deadline for withdrawing nominations ending on Saturday, a State Election Commission (SEC) report says that the ruling party has won 20,076 of the 58,692 seats uncontested. In the last 40 years, there have been only two occasions when the number of uncontested seats crossed 10 per cent — 2003 (11 per cent) and 2013 (10.66 per cent).
This time, no other opposition party has won any seat uncontested. An earlier report had put the number at 26 per cent, which was before the Calcutta High Court had ordered new dates for the election. To read this article in Bengali, click here
“We have already stated that the panchayat polls have become a farce. It has become a joke. There is no democracy in West Bengal. If opposition parties cannot submit nominations, how do you expect an election to take place,” said Sayantan Basu, BJP state secretary. “With a single phase poll on May 14 and no security cover, ruling party goons will have a field day.”
“They (TMC) want no opposition in Bengal. They want to wipe out all opposition from the state by spreading terror. Those who are able to file nominations are being attacked and threatened. Their houses are being ransacked,” said Adhir Chowdhury, Congress state president. “In cases where TMC has withdrawn candidates are where they have in fighting. So many TMC leaders and workers have filed nominations as independents. Now the party is forced to withdraw its original candidates to make way for the independent candidates.”
This year, the panchayat elections will be held in a single phase on May 14 and the counting will be on May 17.
The polling was earlier scheduled to be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5. The SEC had to reschedule the election dates following orders of the Calcutta HC after several opposition parties complained of pre-poll violence and the election body’s flip-flop over extending the nomination process.
Following court orders, the SEC had set April 23 as the last day to file nomination papers. The Opposition had again alleged that TMC workers attacked their candidates who had gone to BDO offices to file their nominations.
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