According to the State Election Commission, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has won 14,767 of West Bengal’s 3,344 Gram panchayat (GP) seats, defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who won 3,344 seats. The TMC is in the lead in 28 of the state’s 341 Panchayat Samitis (PS), with the results of the other PS still pending. The counting of votes started this morning, one day after West Bengal underwent re-voting in roughly 697 booths after violence marred the July 8 panchayat elections, killing at least 20 people.
The panchayat elections, which are routinely held a year before the Lok Sabha elections, are seen as a signpost of what is to come in a state that is predominately rural. The 2008 panchayat elections, in which the Trinamool Congress (along with the Congress) shattered the Left Front’s decades-long authority over panchayat elections by bringing the then ruling coalition’s tally down to just above 50% from the usual returns of 85–90%, are seen as the origin of the party’s electoral dominance in West Bengal.
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The Left Front, which was led by the CPI(M), also lost two district Zilla Parishads to the TMC and the Congress, which was unusual, and won numerous more. Mamata Banerjee’s party shocked the Left with an overwhelming victory in the Lok Sabha elections a year later, following the Singur agitation and the consolidation of Congress elements in the TMC. This tendency has not yet been reversed. The 2018 panchayat elections served as an opener as well. The BJP made significant gains in the Lok Sabha in 2019 and closely outperformed the TMC as a result of the alleged widespread rigging and violence that led to the results of a significant number of panchayat seats being declared uncontested in favor of the party in power.
The West Bengal panchayat elections were marred by “state-sponsored” violence, according to the BJP, which called the Trinamool Congress government “ruthless” and said at least 45 people died in the chaos.
37 individuals have died during this election, including 18 on the day of voting on Saturday. A total of 5.67 crore individuals who reside in rural areas of the state were able to vote for 2.06 lakh candidates for 73,887 panchayat seats.
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