The Trinamool Congress (TMC) faced no opposition in an unprecedented 26 per cent of panchayat seats this year, according to a state election commission (SEC) report released on Tuesday. The elections body took into account papers filed with it till the April 9 nomination deadline.
The Calcutta High Court had stayed the election process on April 12 following complaints from political parties.
According to the SEC data, the Trinamool faced no opposition in 15,630 of the 58,692 seats (26.63 per cent) of the three-tier Panchayat system. In the last 40 years, there have been only two occasions when the number of uncontested seats crossed 10 per cent — 2003 (11 per cent) and 2013 (10.66 per cent). No Opposition party figures on the list of parties that faced no contest.
The BJP said this was expected as the TMC indulged in wide-spread violence to prevent Opposition candidates from filing their nominations.
“The latest data vindicates our stand that TMC indulged in violence to make an Opposition free panchayat polls. This is the reason why we moved the high court to demand that the Opposition candidates who were prevented by the ruling party workers, be allowed to file their nominations. The TMC turned the panchayat polls into a farce,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha told The media.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee was not available for comments. However, a senior TMC leader defended the party saying that the Opposition did not have a strong organisational base in those seats.
“In some places they could not find candidates as they did not have the support of the people. Still, they will blame the TMC for winning,” he said.