TMC wins 20,000 Panchayat seats uncontested, amidst accusation of opposition being prevented from filing nominations

The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress has won about 20,000 seats uncontested in the upcoming West Bengal panchayat elections, as reported by The Statesman. This translates to about 34% of total seats where the TMC turned out to be the sole contesting party. Such a number is a meteoric rise from the now second highest uncontested victory on 11% of the seats, notched by the left front government back in 2003.

As per a TOI report, the TMC is the only party to have fielded candidates in all the rural seats like that of gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad. Based on the state election commission data, 16,814 out of 48,650 gram panchayats were won uncontested by TMC and this figure was 3,059 and 203 for panchayat samiti and zilla parishad seats. This turns out to be a total of 20,072 uncontested seats.

This number of uncontested seats is a spectacular rise from the figure of 6274 seats in 2013 and 2845 seats in 2008.

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This number of 20,072 seats could have been much higher had the Calcutta High Court not provided a four hour window to file nominations last Monday, which saw the submission of 5,697 nominations.

The news of so many uncontested seats come in the light of TMC being accused of using violence to stop BJP and Congress candidates from filing their nomination papers. As reported, the BJP had moved the Supreme Court, urging it to interfere in the matter of its party candidates not being allowed to file its nomination papers for the said polls.

The ruling party has also been accused of murdering a BJP worker and carrying out armed rallies before commencement of nomination filing for the Panchayat polls.

Such intimidation tactics had resulted in Panchayat candidates belonging to a “Save Land, Livelihood, Home and Environment Committee” filing their nominations via WhatsApp, after being allegedly prevented by the TMC from physically filing them.

As per the petitioner Sharmishta Chowdhury, they were attacked by over 100 TMC goons while going to the office of additional district magistrate, to file their nominations. The goons also allegedly confined them in a room for an hour and tore their nomination papers.

The Calcutta High Court later approved the WhatsApp filed nominations, and also directed the State Election Commission to do the same.

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