Mamata Banerjee's Bengal takeover complete

Having won 13 zilla parishads (district councils) out of 17 in the panchayat polls, the Trinamool Congress consolidated its position before the crucial Lok Sabha elections and went one step closer to emerge as one of the single largest regional blocks in 2014. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rewrote the rules of triangular contests in state politics having virtually wiped out both the Congress and the Communists from rural Bengal.

Both the Congress and CPM were down to just one zilla parishad in Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri, respectively, while Malda and North Dinajpur were locked in a "tie" with the Trinamool Congress as the deciding factor.

Both Malda, led by the Ghani Khan Chowdhury family, and North Dinajpur led by Deepa Das Munshi, were for long under the domination of Congress that controlled the zilla parishads.

In the final tally, the Trinamool Congress bagged 215 panchayat samitis (middle tier) out of the 329 contested. The TMC also won 530 zilla parishad seats (upper tier) out of 825 contested. In both the segments, the total number of seats won constituted about 65 per cent of the total seats.

In the lowest tier of gram panchayats, too, it was close to the same percentage of seats with about 400 gram panchayats held in a "tie" where the ruling party always have the advantage.

Happy with the results, Mamata convened a TMC parliamentary party meet at Writers' Buildings this afternoon where, apart from other critical issues like the Gorkhaland agitation, the panchayat results were also discussed.

A senior TMC MP said: "Didi was really happy with the results in South Bengal districts - where the TMC bagged 11 out of 12 zilla parishads. The three LWE-affected districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia gave TMC an overwhelming mandate with over 75 per cent seats won. But she cautioned against post-poll violence."

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