West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress maintained their supremacy, emerging victorious in four municipalities while the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha managed to retain control in three in the northern hills but the Congress-Left Front alliance and the BJP came a cropper in the civic poll results announced on Wednesday.
The Trinamool virtually wiped out all opposition in the plains where it won Raiganj, Domkal and Pujali municipalities.
The Congress was decimated in its strongholds Raiganj and Domkal, while the BJP, bidding to come up as the main opposition, managed to win only three wards of the 148 which went to the hustings in the seven municipalities on May 14.
An elated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulate the people for reposing their trust in her party, and said a new era has started in the hills.
Domkal in Murshidabad district saw the Trinamool capture 18 wards, and the Congress-Left three.
However, two of the victorious opposition councilors switched over to the Trinamool soon after, raising the ruling party's strength to 20.
In the hills, the GJM managed to retain its top spot, but the Trinamool also made substantial gains by winning the Mirik Notified area, and picking up seats in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
In Mirik, the Trinamool broke the GJM stranglehold by gaining a two-thirds majority. The Trinamool captured six wards, and the GJM the remaining three.
In Darjeeling, the GJM captured all but one of the 32 wards. A Trinamool candidate won that seat.
In the 23-ward Kalimpong Municipality, the GJM was triumphant in 18, the Trinamool in two, while the remaining three went to others.
The GJM also retained its domination in Kurseong, emerging winner in 17 wards, with the remaining three pocketed by Trinamool.
"Congratulations to 'Ma Mati Manush' for again and again putting their trust in us. We are honoured, privileged and humbled," Banerjee said on Twitter.
She hailed the voters of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik for participating in the democratic process. "Special thanks to Mirik for reposing faith in us. We will work sincerely for you. After so many decades we begin a new era in the hills. The hills are smiling," added the Trinamool supremo.
Gorkha Janamukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung termed his party's success in Darjeeling, Kalipong and Kurseong as "victory of the common people", but claimed there was a miscalculation in the counting of votes in Mirik and demanded a recount.
"Something went wrong in Mirik. The counting should have started at 8.30 a.m. but that did not happen. I have complained about it and demanded a recounting of votes. However, we will keep working to address whatever issues are there," Gurung said.
On the other hand, Congress leader Manoj Chakraborty claimed the results did not reflect the people's will.
"Everybody has seen on television what all happened on the polling day. There was rampant terrorisation and intimidation of voters and opposition workers. Votes were looted by the Trinamool," he alleged.
Left Front legislator party leader and CPI-M state secretariat member Sujan Chakraborty said the presence of the central forces ensured proper polls in the hills, and the Trinamool cut a sorry figure there.
"Leave aside Mirik, it is only a small village. But in the plains there were no central forces, so the polls were a farce."
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said "the results have proved that in West Bengal, for holding proper elections, the central forces have to be deployed".
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