Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress on Wednesday inflicted a crushing blow to the ruling Left front in the civic polls in West Bengal, capturing the prestigious Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC) and bagging 36 other municipalities in the "semi-finals" ahead of next year's assembly elections.
Riding the winds of political change and improving on its performance in the Lok Sabha polls and subsequent by-elections, the Trinamool Congress also humbled ally Congress in its victory march.
The Trinamool, which had lost the KMC to the Left Front in 2005, swept the 141-ward city corporation, winning 95 with the CPI(M) following far behind at 33, Congress securing 10 and BJP three.
Among the 81 civic bodies spread across 16 of 19 districts for which elections were held on Sunday, the Trinamool Congress won 36, the Left Front 18 and the Congress six.
Besides this, the TC and Congress won in 17 municipalities, including in Memari, Daihat, Kalna, where there was unofficial understanding between the two parties.
Elections to four of the civic bodies in Bongaon, Taki Mathabhanga and Kanchrapara led to hung boards.
The Left Front had been in power in 55 civic bodies Trinamool in eight and Congress in 11 prior to the elections.
The Trinamool also wrested the Bidhannagar (Salt Lake) municipality after a gap of 15 years.
Buoyed by the remarkable showing of her party, Banerjee demanded immediate Assembly elections, saying that the CPI(M) has lost all right to continue in power.
Chief Minister Buddadeb Bhattacharjee refused to take questions from the media on the Left Front's poor showing.
The civic elections were also a prestige fight between Banerjee, the Railway Minister, and Union Finance Minister and WBPCC chief Pranab Mukherjee after the two sides failed to clinch a seat-sharing deal in the KMC.
It was also to judge the Trinamool's own strength sans Congress prior to next year's assembly elections.
In Delhi, Mukherjee congratulated Banerjee for her excellent performance and accepted the failure of the Congress in not coming up to expectations.
"I accept the failure of the Congress to perform up to the expectations which we had. I accept the verdict of the people with all humility," he said.
For the Left Front it was equally a test to ascertain whether it had gained from the Trinamool and Congress going separate ways in the civic elections.