Counting for the West Bengal panchayat polls began Monday with initial trends putting ruling Trinamool Congress in the lead in most of the districts. PTI file photo
Seen as a prelude to Lok Sabha elections and a litmus test for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the ruling TMC surged ahead of opposition Left Front and Congress in 11 of 17 districts in West Bengal, as initial results of gram panchayat polls came in today.
Altogether 329 counting centres, spread over the 17 districts, would decide the fate of 1.69 lakh candidates, including around 90,000 women.
The TMC had won 6,000 gram panchayats and panchayat samities uncontested.
The ruling party was much ahead in former Maoist strongholds in junglemahal in the districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapur, as also in East Midnapur where Nandigram is located till 2:00 pm.
It was also surging ahead in the traditionally Marxist strongholds of Burdwan and Hooghly districts, besides in South and North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Birbhum and Coochbehar.
In Burdwan district, the TMC won 96 gram panchayats, Left Front 14, Congress and BSP one each.
In Nadia district, TMC captured 40 gram panchayats, Left Front 21 and Congress 6.
In West Midnapur, TMC won 59, Left Front 25 and Congress one.
The Left Front for whom the election was an opportunity to stage a turnaround after its 2011 assembly poll debacle was ahead in North Dinajpur, Malda and Murshidabad districts.
In Murshidabad, seen as a Congress stronghold under MoS Railways Adhir Chowdhury, the Left Front won in 16, Congress 12 and TMC one.
The manual counting of votes for nearly 58,000 gram panchayats was taken up first with that of panchayat samities and all-important 17 zilla parishads to start subsequently.
The final verdict was expected by Tuesday.
Twenty people were killed in the five-phase elections marked by wrangling between the State Election Commission and the state government besides court battles.