The Telegraph
Saturday , July 19 , 2014
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Left Front set to sweep rural polls in Tripura

Agartala, July 18: The Left Front in Tripura is all set to sweep the elections to the three-tier panchayat in the state.

The counting for the panchayat elections, held on Tuesday, began at 8am amid tight security in 45 counting centres.

The process of counting was, however, inordinately slow as sorting of ballots for 591 gram panchayats, 35 panchayat samitis and eight zilla parishads took a long time.

State electoral officer Y. Kumar said the counting would progress slowly because of the time taken in separation of ballots for the three bodies — gram panchayat, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads. “I can give you more details only after 8pm after receiving details from across the state,” he said.

But as the counting progressed it emerged clearly that the CPM-led Left Front, which had captured altogether 1,020 seats — 980 in gram panchayats, 38 in panchayat samitis and two in zilla parishads — of the 6,646 seats in the three-tier body without contest, would sweep the polls.

According to the latest results, the CPM has captured 160 of the 591 gram panchayats and 10 of 419 seats in the panchayat samitis, leaving the Opposition far behind.

The result of none of the 116 seats in the zilla parishads has been declared so far.

The Opposition performed dismally in the elections with the Congress so far getting only seven gram panchayats and the BJP coming a distant third winning only two gram panchayats.

The Trinamul Congress, which appeared to be gaining ground at the cost of the Congress, has not been able to open its account so far despite winning a few seats in a small number of gram panchayats in Dhalai and West Tripura districts.

The BJP, which was expected to win several gram panchayats in North Tripura, has not performed up to expectations, as the party could not secure majority in a single gram panchayat under Kadamtala block in North Tripura. Significantly, the party could win its second gram panchayat in Satchand block under Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura that had been captured in 2009 by the Congress.

No untoward incident has so far been reported from any part of the state.

Commenting on the result the CPM office secretary, Haripada Das, said the Left Front would improve upon its performance in 2009 by securing more seats and panchayat bodies. “It is a conscious and mature mandate of the people in favour of the Left Front and a reward for its performance in ensuring all-round development in rural areas,” said Das.

Though no leader of the Congress was available for comment, Trinamul state chairman Ratan Chakraborty expressed disappointment over the results, attributing the party’s poor show to “organisational weakness and CPM’s terror tactics”.

The state BJP president Sudheendra Dasgupta also expressed his “dismay” at the results.

“We expected to do better, specially in North Tripura district but this has not happened. We are disappointed but we will make best efforts to strengthen our organisation for improved performance in the future,” said Dasgupta.

In the 2009 panchayat polls, the Opposition parties, including the regional INPT, had captured altogether 92 gram panchayats of the then 511 gram panchayats but the trend of counting today indicated that the Opposition would fall short of last election’s performance.

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