BENGAL PANCHAYAT POLLS: TMC RACES AHEAD, BJP MAIN RIVAL
The ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday headed for a massive victory in West Bengal's rural polls, bagging 20,441 seats in gram panchayats, while the BJP emerged as its main rival, according to the results declared till 10 pm.
State Election Commission (SEC) sources said the TMC was ahead in another 315 gram panchayat seats for which counting was in progress.
The BJP has won 5,465 seats and is leading in 28 seats, they said.
According to a senior state BJP leader, it was the first time in last 10 years that the party had been elected to the gram panchayat level in every district of the state.
The CPI(M) slipped to the third position from the second place it had occupied in the last panchayat polls in 2013. It won 1,415 gram panchayat seats and was ahead in another 13, the sources said.
The Congress is at the fourth position by winning 993 seats and leading in 13 – a score lower than that of even independents, who won 1,741 gram panchayat seats and were leading in 18 seats.
A jubilant TMC said the result would boost the party ahead of next year's Lok Sabha election as the rural poll was the last major electoral event in the state before it.
The BJP said the result in the three-tier panchayat polls, which saw its emergence as the main challenger to the ruling TMC in Bengal, would act as a morale booster for the party's rank and file.