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Stage set for Bengal panchayat polls

Kolkata, May 13: Preceded by weeks of violence, intense court battles and alleged use of muscle power to prevent opponents from filing nominations, the West Bengal panchayat polls are all set to be held on Monday, which will give a clearer picture of the battle lines ahead of the 2019 general elections.

While the ruling Trinamool Congress has been doing consistently well in polls at all levels for the last few years, the main suspense has in recent past centred around which political force — the BJP or the Left Front — would be its main challenger. While the LF-Congress alliance finished second in the 2016 Assembly elections, since then, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been ending runners-up in almost all elections in the state. Pre-poll surveys have predicted that the coming rural elections could provide an emphatic answer to the questions, with the BJP predicted to leave the LF and the Congress far behind and emerge as the main rival to the Trinamool – which, the surveys claims, would walk away with the bulk of the seats at all three levels — panchayat, panchayat samiti and the zila parishad. (IANS)