Trinamool heads towards big win in Bengal civic polls

Kolkata, Oct 10 (IANS) West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress is headed for a landslide victory in the three civic bodies where vote count is under way on Saturday.

The Trinamool candidates were ahead of their rivals in Bidhannagar and Asansol Municipal Corporations in North 24 Parganas and Burdwan districts respectively.

The Trinamool also annihilated the opposition in the 16 wards of the erstwhile Bally municipality in Howrah district where election was necessitated after the civic body was amalgamated with the Howrah Municipal Corporation.

At Bidhannagar, in the north eastern fringes of Kolkata, Trinamool candidates were ahead in 33 of the 41 wards. The Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front led in four wards, and the Congress in two. An independent nominee led in one ward.

In Asansol, the Trinamool candidates have established leads in 65 wards, the Left was ahead in 16 and the Bharatiya Janata Party in five. The total number of wards is 106.

The Trinamool candidates have left their opponents far behind in all the 16 wards of Bally municipality.

The opposition had alleged violence and rampant rigging in the October 3 polls, and demanded repoll in all the words of the three civic bodies.

There was high drama as State Election Commissioner (SEC) S.R. Upadhyay deferred the vote count slated for October 7 and then put in his papers on Tuesday allegedly succumbing under pressure from political parties.

The state government appointed transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay as the interim commissioner, who ordered repoll on October 9 in 11 booths – 9 in Bidhannagar and two in Asansol.

Angry opposition parties boycotted the repoll.

A case was also filed challenging Bandopadhyay’s appointment, and the Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that all steps initiated by the SEC under the new interim commissioner would be subject to the court’s final verdict on the writ petition, but turned down a plea to give any interim stay.

Justice Dipankar Datta sought affidavits from the West Bengal government and the SEC backing their observations by November 17. The petitioner Amitava Majumdar was directed to file the affidavit in opposition by November 19.

November 23 has been fixed as the next day of hearing.

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