Trinamool set for victory, Mamata dedicates panchayat success to people

Kolkata, July 29 (IANS) With the ruling Trinamool Congress on the verge of a resounding victory in the West Bengal rural polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday dedicated the win to the state's rural public.

"People in the state have got back democracy through the panchayat polls. We are grateful to the democratic procedures as well to the public at large for this festival of democracy - the panchayat polls," Banerjee told the media, as counting of votes neared completion.

"I dedicate this victory to the rural population of the state. It is the victory of 'Maa Maati Manush' (Mother, Land and People)," the chief minister said.

"As per the current results, at least 13 zilla parishads (district councils) will come to Trinamool, and we will lead in two others. In the remaining two, the results are still uncertain, they may even get hung verdicts, we cannot say anything till the results are declared," Banerjee said.

The opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front, which established its dominance in 13 of the state's 19 districts in the previous elections held in 2008, and the Congress, have been left far behind in the polls, billed as a curtain raiser to the next general elections and the biggest test of Banerjee's popularity since coming to power two years ago.

The massive democratic exercise with 1.69 lakh candidates in the fray - around 90,000 of them women - has 58,865 seats up for grabs.

There are in all 755 zilla parishad (district councils) constituencies spread over 17 zilla parishads, 8,864 panchayat samiti constituencies in 341 panchayat samities and 36,016 gram panchayat constituencies in 3,354 gram panchayats.

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