- TMC won all seven urban local bodies for which polls were held Sunday
- The BJP finished a distant second in most places
- The BJP and CPM had demanded that the polls be cancelled
"It is the people's victory. I thank them. The Opposition has got barely 1 per cent vote," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. Her senior party colleague and minister Partha Chatterjee said in a dig at the BJP, "If the first boy in class gets 95 and the second boy just 10 marks, what's the meaning of coming second?" The CPM, he said, has been reduced to a "signboard".
The BJP is undeterred. It had three seats in 2012 and has doubled that to six now, displacing the Left-Congress combine as the main opposition party in the state. "We are going to do much better in 2019," asserted the BJP's Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya, adding, "There is deep discontent against Bengal's ruling party... if polls were held in a free and fair manner we would have won in many places... they captured booths, assaulted workers even then we are at No.2 which means the public wants to make the BJP win more seats."
The CPM's Sujan Chakraborty said, "Are elections held in Bengal anymore?"
Sunday's elections were held amid violence, especially in Durgapur, and the BJP and CPM had both demanded that the polls be cancelled alleging that the ruling Trinamool used violence and booth capturing to rig the elections.
Supriya Dey, a two-term Congress councilor from Ward 1 at Coopers Camp civic body in Nadia district, who fought this election as an independent, committed suicide after she lost to the Trinamool. On polling day, she had got embroiled in a fight with Trinamool supporters at the polling booth. Once results came out, she went home and allegedly took an overdose of sleeping pills. By the time she was rushed from one hospital to another, it was too late.
Mamata Banerjee continues her winning streak in Bengal after sweeping assembly polls last year to win a second term as Chief Minister and dominating local body elections since, winning four of seven civic bodies in polls in May, including Mirik in Darjeeling district, stronghold of BJP ally the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The BJP's growth in the state, mostly at the cost of the CPM, has prompted party chief Amit Shah to set sights on winning maximum seats in Bengal in the 2019 national election.
The BJP had won two Lok Sabha seats from Bengal in 2014, increasing its vote share from four to 17 per cent. The Trinamool had won 34 of the state's 42 parliament seats.
Last year, when Ms Banerjee's party swept the assembly elections, the BJP won three seats, the party's best performance ever in the state.