Kolkata: In a dubious record of sorts, data released by the West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) showed that 34.2 percent or 20,076 of the 58,692 seats in the upcoming panchayat elections in Bengal have already been won by the Trinamool Congress as they are going uncontested.
A majority of the uncontested seats have been automatically won by candidates of the ruling Trinamool Congress after several contenders failed to file their nomination papers due to the violence that marred the filing process in the state.
According to the SEC, of the 48,650 gram panchayat seats up for grabs, 16,814 or 34.6 percent of the spots have gone uncontested. In panchayat samiti level, out of the 9,217 seats, 3,509 or 33.2 percent seats are uncontested. The numbers in zila parishad elections also echo the same as 203 (24.6%) of the 825 seats have been a walk-over.
This is nothing new in Bengal as similar wins were witnessed even during the Left regime, however, TMC has set a record of sorts with a three-fold jump.
The previous record of uncontested wins was registered in 2003, during the Left rule, when 6,800 seats were a walk-over.
Panchayat polls were first held in the state in 1978, if the total number of uncontested wins from 1978 - 2017 (eight elections) were to be counted, the figure is 23,185. The number was nearly matched by this year's polls alone.
The highest number of uncontested wins have been recorded in Birbhum district where Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal heads the party.
Of the total 2,427 seats in gram panchayat, 1,967 (87.5%) are uncontested. In panchayat samiti, out of 465, more than 87 percent or 405 seats are walk-overs. The zila parishad polls in Birbhum take the cake, though, as all 42 seats are uncontested.