Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress' juggernaut rolled on in West Bengal as the ruling party captured the prestigious Howrah Municipal Corporation and won elections to three of the four other civic bodies Monday.
The Trinamool wrested the Jhargram municipality, which the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) lost after a gap of 35 years, and won an absolute majority on its own in Midnapore municipality in West Midnapore district.
The Trinamool retained Krishnagar (Nadia district), while the Congress swept its stronghold Behrampore municipality in Murshidabad district. The CPI-M-led Left Front drew a blank.
The elections were held Nov 22.
The polls in Kolkata's twin city Howrah, which had generated keen interest, saw the LF getting decimated as the combine lost the board for the first time since the area was upgraded to a municipal corporation in the mid-1980s.
With counting complete in 48 of the 50 wards, the Trinamool triumphed in 41 while the Congress bagged three and the CPI-M-led LF and the Bharatiya Janata Party two each.
The LF suffered major jolts with both mayor Mamta Jaiswal of the CPI-M and deputy mayor Kaberi Moitra of Communist Party of India biting the dust.
In Maoist-affected Jhargram in West Midnapore district, the Trinamool won 16 of the 17 wards in Jhargram. The CPI got one ward but the CPI-M failed to open its account.
The Midnapore municipality, so long run by a Trinamool-Congress alliance, saw the Trinamool bagging the board on its own by winning 13 of the 25 wards. The Congress got six and the CPI-M four.
In Krishnagar, a Congress bastion, the Trinamool registered a thumping victory while the Congress was annihilated. The Trinamool got 22 wards. The remaining two went to Independents - both of whom announced after their victory that they would join Trinamool.
The Congress, which ran the board till a month back, seemed to have suffered heavily after its councillors, including chairman of the municipality, switched over to the Trinamool in October. With some LF members also joining its fold, the Trinamool had seized the board then.
The Congress' only success came in Behrampore, considered a pocket borough of Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The Congress won 26 seats but the Trinamool also made some inroads taking two wards. All the LF candidates lost.
This is the first time since 1998 that the Congress has conceded any seat to its opponents in Behrampore. The Trinamool vote share also went up from 2.8 percent (in 2008) to 29 percent this time, said its general secretary Mukul Roy, who described his party's successes as the people's endorsement of Banerjee's welfare agenda.
Reacting to the results, Chowdhury said the Congress needed to introspect on the results and the desertion of its leaders and workers to the Trinamool.