Mamata, EC spar over Nandigram, each say ballot official underneath menace

mamata nandigram

A DAY after sweeping the Assembly elections in West Bengal, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee stated Monday that EVMs in Nandigram, the place she misplaced to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, had been tampered with and that the Returning Officer (RO) had denied recounting fearing a menace to his life.

She stated that her get together would approach the courts over the problem.

However, when requested concerning the allegations, sources within the Election Commission (EC) informed The Indian Express {that a} report submitted by the ballot physique’s observer in West Bengal states that RO was certainly underneath strain — but it surely got here from the TMC to conform to a recount of all EVM votes in Nandigram.

The Commission is realized to have requested the state authorities to supply police safety to the Nandigram RO Kishore Kumar Biswas. Responding to a query, a senior official stated Biswas had not approached the EC for cover.

“The elections are over, and the Model Code of Conduct has been lifted from all four states and one union territory. The EC has asked the West Bengal government to give the officer protection, but it’s up to them to do it,” the official stated.

Banerjee fought a pitched electoral battle in Nandigram along with her protege turned rival Adhikari. On Sunday night, the EC declared Adhikari because the winner by a margin of 1,956 votes. While the TMC had sought a recount of all EVM votes, the RO dismissed the plea on the bottom that Banerjee’s counting brokers had been current on the time of EVM counting and appeared happy with the method.

On Monday, Banerjee displayed a message purportedly from Biswas, which referred to a menace to his life. “The life of the returning officer of Nandigram was under threat. I have received an SMS where the returning officer of Nandigram has written to someone that if he allows recounting, his life will be under threat.”

When contacted on Monday, Biswas stated he isn’t authorised to talk to the media.

Sources stated that the one authorized recourse for the TMC on this scenario is to file an election petition within the High Court difficult the consequence.

“The BJP played a nasty game. I do not know why. I heard that the Central forces continuously threatened people in that counting centre and there was a power cut for around 40 minutes. What was the harm if recounting was allowed?” Banerjee stated.

“They announced that I had won, the Governor also congratulated me. Then they announced I am trailing. How did the Election Commission suddenly reverse the result after announcing it? We will move the court. Justice is the main pillar of democracy,” Banerjee stated.

On Monday, TMC employees sat on dharna on the residence of the District Magistrate and they’d not move till the administration gives a written assurance that VVPATs and ballots might be saved correctly.

“Our counting agents said observers also played a negative role. So, all the documents should be kept properly. Otherwise, we will be forced to undertake a forensic investigation and I will surely go to court,” Banerjee stated.

Meanwhile, the EC cited the Covid scenario to defer elections for 2 Assembly seats in West Bengal and the by-election for a seat in Odisha, all scheduled for May 16. Assembly polls in Jangipur and Samserganj constituencies of West Bengal and the bypoll for Odisha’s Pipli seat had been adjourned because of loss of life of contesting candidates from recognised political events.