CPI-M leads, but routed in Nandigram, Singur (Lead)

May 21st, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 21 (IANS) West Bengal’s ruling Left Front suffered reverses in several districts Wednesday in elections to three-tier self-government bodies although the coalition maintained an overall lead in the state. The Front was jolted in East Midnapore district, losing control of the Zilla Parishad - the top tier of the Panchayat system - after an uninterrupted reign of 30 years since 1977, besides suffering setbacks in the North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts.

Nandigram, which saw massive violence directed primarily against the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) over the government’s bid to acquire land for a chemical hub, is located in East Midnapore.

The Trinamul Congress, which led the protests in Nandigram, made a clean sweep of the seats in the area, besides making impressive gains at Singur in Hooghly district.

At Singur, the Trinamul Congress had mobilised people against the land acquisition for the small car factory of Tata Motors.

Officials said that by 3 p.m., the Red citadel of Burdwan, Purulia and Bankura had remained intact but the ruling coalition was engaged in a neck-and-neck race with the Congress for the control of the Zilla Parishads in Murshidabad and Malda districts.

In the previous elections in 2003, the Congress won the two Zilla Parishads, with the Front emerging victorious in all other 15 districts.

The CPI-M’s image was dented further as three of the incumbent Zilla Parishad leaders, owing allegiance to the party, bit the dust in North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Nadia districts.

In Nandigram, the Trinamul Congress trounced the Front in the Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samiti polls besides winning all the four Zilla Parishad seats.

At Singur, the Trinamul won by a bigger margin than five years back but it failed to stretch its gains to other parts of the Hooghly district, where the Front triumphed.

In North 24 Parganas, the Congress and the Trinamul Congress together were ahead in 27 Zilla Parishad seats, while the Front led in 25.

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul also put up a stubborn fight in South 24 Parganas, largely due to its tie-up with the Socialist Unity Centre of India. But the Front looked poised to retain control of the Zilla Parishad.

Zilla Parishad is the third and top tier of Panchayat system. Jurisdiction of Zilla Parishad is the rural part of a whole district.

Nearly 37.5 million rural voters in West Bengal voted in the panchayat elections held on May 11, 14 and 18. About 51,000 winners will take charge of the decentralised rural governance.

West Bengal’s three-tier panchayat system comprises Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad.

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