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Jun 05, 2012 at 03:05pm IST

Trinamool Congress sweeps West Bengal civic polls

Kolkata: Despite a controversy ridden first year in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress swept the civic polls on Tuesday. It has won four of the six municipalities that went to the polls - Panskura, Dhupguri, Naihati and Durgapur.

The Congress and Left have come in second with one municipality each. The Congress has won Coopers Camp, the Left has won Haldia. The Left Front captured 15 out of 26 wards in Haldia. The remaining 11 seats went to Mamata's party, officials said. The Cooper's Camp civic body saw Congress winning with 11 seats while the Trinamool could manage only one while the Left failed to open its account.

This has been a big test for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as this was the first major election after the 2011 Assembly polls.

All 129 seats in the six civic bodies - Durgapur, Dhupguri, Haldia, Nalhati, Daspur and Coopers' Camp - witnessed triangular contests among the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front.

The seats were spread over five districts - Jalpaiguri, East Midnapore, Haldia, Birbhum and Bardhaman. Cooper's Camp in Nadia district recorded the highest 93.28 per cent polling.

Alliance partners, Trinamool and Congress, however, fought the civic elections independently, a reflection of their bitter rivalry. Congress and opposition CPI(M) alleged that the polls were far from free and fair and accused Trinamool activists of resorting to booth-capturing and rigging.

A Trinamool wave had swept across Haldia in 2009 parliamentary elections and had taken away the seat of the now jailed CPI(M) leader Lakshman Seth from there. TMC had also won the assembly polls in Haldia last year.

It was left to Kamalika Panda Seth, chairman of Haldia Municipality, to steer the party's campaign in the absence of her husband who is now behind bars in connection with a 2007 Nandigram case.

In Dhupguri, which was regarded a strong base of the Left Front parties, Trinamool swept the polls this time by winning 11 seats.

In the rural belt of Panskura, Trinamool bagged 12 seats while the Left got five but neither Congress nor BJP could manage a single seat.

In Naihati, out of 15 seats, Trinamool won in eight while Congress and Left Front got three each and BJP managed one.

Naihati had generated keen interest because the Congress campaign was led by local legislator Abhijit Mukherjee, son of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Cooper's Camp civic body saw Congress winning with 11 seats while Trinamool could manage only one. The Left Front failed to open its account.

In 2007, the Left Front had won in three of the six civic bodies. The Congress won two while Congress-Trinamool alliance had bagged one.

(With additional information from PTI)

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