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Left sweeping to power in West Bengal
M Chhaya in Kolkata | May 14, 2003 02:33 IST
The Left Front is sweeping to power in village and district councils across West Bengal after a violent weekend vote that left some 25 people dead.
The results are in keeping with expectations in most of the 58,357 seats of the three-tier panchayat system.
The Left Front, a coalition of nine parties led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, has already won 6,283 seats without a contest because the opposition parties failed to field candidates there.
The opposition alleges that the CPI-M had let loose a reign of terror to win the election, considered crucial by all parties for consolidating grassroots-level support.
Results and trends from 329 counting centres indicate that the Left Front is maintaining a more-than-comfortable lead in all three-tiers of the panchayat -- zilla parishad, panchayat samiti and gram panchayat.
Of the 713 zilla parishad seats, results of 153 have been declared. The Left Front has bagged 144 seats (the CPI-M alone 123), the Trinamool Congress seven and the Congress two.
The Congress is putting up a tough fight in Malda and Murshidabad zilla parishads.
The CPI-M has so far won 127 panchayat samiti seats and 512 gram panchayat seats, reports said.
Counting was taken up for 713 zilla parishad, 8,500 panchayat samiti and 49,144 gram panchayat seats amid unprecedented security.
The Left has taken a decisive lead in the zilla parishads of Midnapore (west and east), Bankura, Burdwan and Birbhum districts. Panchayats in 17 districts went to the polls.
All results are expected to be out by Wednesday.
The Trinamool appears to have given up without a fight.
"These are farce results of a farce election. So we aren't bothering ourselves with it," Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata on Tuesday.
More reports from West Bengal