Updated: June 18, 2021 8:30:31 am
A petition was filed at the Calcutta High Court on Thursday, challenging the election result at Nandigram Assembly constituency. Locked in a prestige battle with Suvendu Adhikari for the prized seat in East Midnapore district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lost narrowly to her once key lieutenant.
The high court admitted the petition and listed it for hearing on Friday. As per the listing, a single-judge bench of Justice Kaushik Chanda will take up the plea for hearing.
According to sources in the ruling Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Basu, an advocate close to Abhishek Banerjee, filed the petition, challenging the Nandigram result and demanding a court-monitored recount.
On May 3, a day after assembly poll results were declared, Mamata alleged that the returning officer of Nandigram had claimed a threat to life while denying a recounting of votes. Showing a WhatsApp message to back her claim, she said the RO feared for his life and was under pressure. Claiming that the EVMs were tampered with, she said her party will move court on the issue.
Showing the WhatsApp message on May 3, the Trinamool supremo had said, “BJP played a nasty game. I don’t know why. I heard that the central force personnel had threatened officials at the counting centre and there was a power cut as well for around 40 minutes.”
She had further said, “How is it that the Election Commission reversed the Nandigram result after calling it (in her favour)? We will move court.”
“I don’t know what exactly happened. They (EC) announced that I won and even the Governor congratulated me. Then they announced that I was trailing. I am sure there’s something fishy,” she had said.
She further informed that party workers were staging a sit-in at the residence of the district magistrate and won’t leave till the district administration gave a written assurance that the VVPAT and ballots would be preserved. “Our counting agents said the observers also played a negative role. All the poll papers should be kept properly, failing which we will push for a forensic examination and I will definitely move court,” the CM had said.
The neck-to-neck fight for the high-profile constituency was finally settled at night when EC officials stated that Adhikari had won by 1,956 votes. The Trinamool promptly moved the Commission for a recount, alleging EVM tampering and fraud.
It wasn’t before 10 pm on May 2 that Smita Pandey, the district electoral officer (DEO) confirmed that Adhikari won the Nandigram seat. The strongman from East Midnapore was later elected the Leader of Opposition by the BJP.
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