HE Calcutta High Court Friday deferred the hearing on a petition filed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee challenging the victory of her opponent and former colleague Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram in theWest Bengal Assembly election 2021.
The petition filed a day ago was listed before the bench of Justice Kausik Chanda. Sanjay Bose, the lawyer representing the CM, requested the court to declare the poll verdict null and void.
Banerjee wanted the result to be declared void on three grounds:
- Indulgence by Adhikari and his party in corrupt practices including bribery
- Using religion in the election campaign for polarisation
- Promoting hatred between the Muslim and Hindu communities.
She further alleged discrepancies in the counting procedure and form 17C. The role of the Election Commission of India(ECI) is questioned for its decision against her request to recount votes.
“Suvendu Adhikari has indulged in several corrupt practices that have enhanced his winning chances and materially altered Mamata Banerjee’s chances of success in the election,” the petition read.
The petition comes more than a month after Adhikari’s victory in Nandigram by 1956 votes. The victory came as a surprise to many, including many Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders. Mamata chose the same constituency to contest this time that propelled her to power for the first time in 2011.
Banerjee accepted her defeat after the declaration of the result. But the next day, she alleged that the Returning Officer(RO) was threatened by the BJP. She claimed to receive an SMS in which the Returning Officer avoided recounting as he feared for his life.
“I have received an SMS from someone in which the returning officer of Nandigram has written to someone that if he allows recounting then his life would be under threat. ‘I can’t order a recount. My family will be in ruin. I have a little daughter…’,” Banerjee then told the Media.
“How do you lose an election twice? First, at the hustings and then, like a sore loser, challenging people’s verdict in the court. It would be fascinating to see Mamata Banerjee suffer the humiliation of Nandigram defeat twice over,” Amit Malviya, BJP IT cell head said in response to this petition on Twitter
Post this win, Adhikari has emerged as one of the most powerful leaders in the saffron party. He was later named as Leader of Opposition(LoP) in the West Bengal Assembly by the BJP. His sudden rise was cited as one of the reasons for Mukul Roy’s exit from the BJP back to the Trinamool Congress.