Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said that the party will move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission of India for “behaving badly” with her party in the course of the politically charged West Bengal assembly election.
Banerjee said three retired officers cannot control democracy. ”We will move the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court against the Election Commission. The EC behaved very badly with us during the entire process. If they behave like this there will be no democracy. Three nominated men, who are retired officers, cannot control democracy,” she said.
A three-member Trinamool Congress delegation also met chief electoral officer Aariz Aftab in Kolkata on Sunday to ask for a recount of votes in Nandigram, where Banerjee lost a high-profile battle to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari by a slim margin of 1,956 votes and discuss other issues. The party alleged that electronic voting machines were tampered with, false or invalid votes in favour of BJP were put and postal ballots were wrongly counted. It demanded a recount to preserve the sanctity of the electoral process — but ECI rejected the request.
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“I had been saying that BJP won’t even get 70 seats. Even if they manage 75-80 seats, it is because of the ECI. Central forces tortured people in villages and didn’t allow people to vote freely. They posted officers of their choice and resorted to hooliganism,” Banerjee said.
HT reached out to ECI for a response but did not receive one immediately.
“ECI fought with us just like a BJP spokesperson. Earlier when I said votes were looted in Nandigram no one believed in me. Can it happen that the entire state is giving one verdict and just one constituency is giving another? Servers were stopped for three hours. They announced the winner and later they retracted. Some kind of cheating was going on. We will file a case and fight in the court,” she said, referring to her party’s thumping victory in Bengal and her slim loss in Nandigram.
Senior ECI officials in Kolkata refused to comment.
“We can’t comment on the allegations against the ECI. The poll panel may comment. We can only say that we would analyse where we went wrong and what ere the organisational failures so that we can rectify them and prepare for the next battle,” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, BJP’s state vice-president.
TMC has repeatedly attacked the commission for working at the “behest of the BJP”, even alleging that the poll watchdog was “compromised”. Prashant Kishor, who played an integral role in shaping TMC’s campaign, on Sunday said ECI was “working like an extension of BJP”.
The EC courted controversy throughout the election, beginning with the prolonged duration of the polls, to not conceding to the opposition’s demands to club the last three phases in view of the rise in Covid-19 cases.