Kolkata, June 5: A year after it formed government with the Congress after a landslide victory in the Assembly election, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress today passed its first major popularity test by winning four of the six municipal bodies it separately contested in the last Sunday's civic poll, barring a setback at Haldia.
The party wrested the prestigious Durgapur municipal corporation in Burdwan district and Dhupguri in north Bengal, Left citadels for three decades, and bagged the Nalhati municipal body in Birbhum district where Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee, local MLA, was an active campaigner.
The other civic body the TMC won was the Panskura municipality in East Midnapore district where it was in power with the Congress.
An 86 per cent turnout was recorded in the civic election held last Sunday.
At Nalhati, which was a prestige fight for the Congress, the party had captured power in the 2007 election, but the civic board changed hands after some of the Congress councillors, led by its chairman, switched allegiance to TMC after the 2011 Assembly polls.
In the 2011 Assembly election, Abhijit secured a substantial lead in 14 out of 15 wards in the municipality, thanks to the alliance with the TMC.
“We are defeated. I own the responsibility. In some wards our candidates have been defeated by 6 or seven votes. So our result is not so bad”, Abhijit said in his reaction after the verdict.
A saving grace for the Left, but a setback for the TMC, was its retaining power at the Halida municipality, the state's second rich civic body after the Kolkata municipal corporation.
The victory is all the more sweet for the Left as the CPI-M strongman in Haldia and former MP Lakshman Seth was now in jail in connection with an abduction-cum murder case of seven anti-land acquisition agitators in Nandigram.