Counting of votes for civic elections in West Bengal that went on polls on May 14 is underway.
Seven civic bodies – four in the hills and three in the plains had voted on Sunday however, the election was marred by violence that left several people injured and pit the state’s opposition parties against the Bengal election chief.
In the hills of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik, the fight is billed as one between Bengal and Gorkhaland, a reference to a 100-year-old demand for a separate state for the mountain districts.
Below are the live updates:
12:35pm: Calcutta high court throws out petition by Congress to cancel civic poll results.
12:05pm: The Calcutta high court is all set to start hearing a petition by Congress to cancel polling and nullify the results on account of large-scale violence and allegations of booth capturing.
12:00pm: Final tally of civic polls out: Trinamool Congress wins four (Domkal, Mirik, Raiganj and Pujali), BJP-GJM combine win three (Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong) all in the hills.
11:45am: In Domkal, two candidates of the Congress-Left camp won but immediately switched to the Trinamool Congress. The municipality is now without an opposition.
11:42am: GJM trounces Trinamool Congress in Kalimpong municipality . Out of 23 wards, BJP ally won 18, an independent backed by GJM won one ward. Trinamool and Jan Andolan Party won 2 each.
11:35am: BJP alleges that polls weren’t free and fair; and blames Trinamool Congress. “If the poll was free and fair then we could have won Pujali municipality. Now there will be direct contest between BJP and TMC,” BJP State Chief Dilip Ghosh said.
10:45am: People of Bengal have again reposed their faith on the development initiatives of Mamata Banerjee,” says Trinamool Congress after four municipality wins.
10:38am: Trinamool Congress has won just two seats in Darjeeling. Party rebel and Jan Andolan Party founder Harka Bahadur Chhetri’s outfit has won two.
10:35am:Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-BJP headed for a victory in Kalimpong too, has won 10 out of 23 wards already.
10:33am: “The way Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly visited the hills and interacted with the people is remarkable. People have naturally supported us,” said senior Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee.
10:25am: GJM-BJP wins 31 out of 32 municipal seats in Darjeeling, the biggest and most important of the hill towns. Trinamool wins 1.
10:18am: “The people of Bengal have again rejected the opposition forces and ploys to play divisive politics,” says Trinamool Congress.
10:15am: “We are heading for comprehensive victory in the hills. The mandate also proves that the people of the hills want a separate state of Gorkhaland. Mirik is a small civic body,” said Topden Bhutia, Leader of the GJM in Kalimpong.
10:13am: GJM-BJP combine headed for massive victories in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Alliance has already won Kurseong.
10:09am: “This victory of Trinamool was as expected. The party that ruled Bengal for 34 years didn’t go to the hills. Forget the Chief Minister, even ministers didn’t visit the hills,” said Trinamool Congress Secretary General and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee.
10:05am: Final results out for Domkal municipality in Murshidabad that went to civic polls for the first time. Trinamool Congress wins 20 out of 21 seats, Congress-Left combine wins 1. BJP none.
10:01am: Senior Trinamool leader Subhendu Adhikari describes party’s wins as a victory against communal forces.
9:58am: The four victories will bolster Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is fighting a series of corruption allegations and asked people to vote based on her record of development.
9.50am: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, an ally of BJP, opens its account. Wins Kurseong municipality by bagging 17 out of 20 seats.
9:48am: So far, the ruling Trinamool Congress has won four of seven municipalities and 60 wards out of 73 (or 82%) in Mirik, Domkal, Pujali and Raiganj.
9:45am: Trinamool Congress has won 18 out of 21 seats in Domkal municipality in Murshidabad.
9:43am: Trinamool Congress wins Pujali municipality in South 24 Parganas.
9:40am: Trinamool Congress wins in Domkal municipality amid allegations of rigging and booth capturing.
9:36am: All eyes are on Domkol municipality, where massive violence, allegations of booth capturing and bomb blasts marred polls. Congress has withdrawn its candidate.
9:31 am: “The victory of TMC in Mirik proves that the people of the hills have reposed their faith in the Chief Minister. During campaigning the residents used to tell us that development always bypasses Mirik,” says State Public Works Minister Aroop Biswas.
9:29am: Raiganj civic polls were marred by violence that left two people injured after bomb blasts. The BJP had withdrawn its candidates. TMC has won 24 out of 27 seats.
9:27am: Raiganj was a stronghold of the Congress and its Senior State Leader Deepa Dasmunsi, wife of Former Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.
9:23am: TMC wins Raiganj municipality in North Dinajpur municipality. It trounced the opposition in 22 of the 27 wards.
9:20am: This is a historic victory. It belongs to the people of the hills and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. A mainstream political party winning a civic body in the hills after three decades is historic indeed: Gautam Deb, tourism minister and TMC president of Darjeeling district.
9:01am: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-BJP combine won three wards in Mirik.
9:00am: The Trinamool Congress surges to a victory in North Bengal’s Mirik civic body by winning six out of nine wards. This is the first time in 30 years that a party from the plains won in the hills torn apart by a decades-long movement for a separate state.