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Left's winning march continues, retains power with 4/5 majority

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, May 11 (UNI) Leading a red blitzkrieg, ''pro reform'' Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today took the Left Front to a resounding four-fifths victory in West Bengal as the Marxist coalition retained power for an unprecedented seventh term.

Continuing its winning spree, the CPI(M)-led Front bagged 235 out of a total 293 seats, elections for which were held, and surpassed its own performance in 2001 when it secured 199 seats in the 294-member House.

''It is our victory. It is not mine, but the Left Front's win,'' Mr Bhattacharjee said soon after bagging the Jadavpur seat by a margin of over 58,000 votes. The Chief Minister said his victory symbolised the faith reposed by the people in the Front's policies.

Barring three ministers, all of Mr Bhattacharjee's colleagues in the 32-member ministry emerged victorious.

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress came a poor second with only 29 seats, 25 short of its tally in the previous polls while the Congress bagged 21 seats while the other parties, including the Gorkha National Liberation Front(GNLF), shared the honours in eight.

Veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu said the Left Front's return to power with such a huge margin for a record seventh time was an unprecedented feat in Parliamentary democracy.

''I am overwhelmed. I expected our party to win, but not with such magical numbers,'' the former Chief Minister said, adding that the anti-incumbency factor did not work because of the ''honest efforts'' of the Front to deliver on its promises. He also lavished praise on Mr Bhattacharjee, terming him the ''face of Bengal''.

Putting up a brave front, Ms Banerjee said she was not disappointed at the poll results. However, she described the media as the ''man of the match'' for its role in the run-up to the polls.

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