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Mamata, EC spar over Nandigram, both say poll official under threat

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

She stated that her occasion would strategy the courts over the difficulty.

Nonetheless, when requested in regards to the allegations, sources within the Election Fee (EC) informed The Indian The Press Reporter {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 comply with a recount of all EVM votes in Nandigram.

The Fee is discovered 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 defense.

“The elections are over, and the Mannequin Code of Conduct has been lifted from all 4 states and one union territory. The EC has requested the West Bengal authorities to present the officer safety, but it surely’s as much as them to do it,” the official stated.

Banerjee fought a pitched electoral battle in Nandigram together with her protege turned rival Adhikari. On Sunday night, the EC declared Adhikari because the winner by a margin of 1,956 votes. Whereas the TMC had sought a recount of all EVM votes, the RO dismissed the plea on the bottom that Banerjee’s counting brokers have 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 lifetime of the returning officer of Nandigram was underneath menace. I’ve acquired an SMS the place the returning officer of Nandigram has written to somebody that if he permits recounting, his life shall be underneath menace.”

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 state of affairs is to file an election petition within the Excessive Court docket difficult the end result.

“The BJP performed a nasty sport. I have no idea why. I heard that the Central forces repeatedly threatened folks in that counting centre and there was an influence lower for round 40 minutes. What was the hurt if recounting was allowed?” Banerjee stated.

“They introduced that I had received, the Governor additionally congratulated me. Then they introduced I’m trailing. How did the Election Fee all of the sudden reverse the end result after asserting it? We are going to transfer the court docket. Justice is the principle pillar of democracy,” Banerjee stated.

On Monday, TMC staff sat on dharna on the residence of the District Justice of the Peace and they’d not transfer till the administration gives a written assurance that VVPATs and ballots shall be saved correctly.

“Our counting brokers stated observers additionally performed a adverse position. So, all of the paperwork needs to be saved correctly. In any other case, we shall be compelled to undertake a forensic investigation and I’ll certainly go to court docket,” Banerjee stated.

In the meantime, the EC cited the Covid state of affairs to defer elections for 2 Meeting seats in West Bengal and the by-election for a seat in Odisha, all scheduled for Might 16. Meeting polls in Jangipur and Samserganj constituencies of West Bengal and the bypoll for Odisha’s Pipli seat have been adjourned as a result of loss of life of contesting candidates from recognised political events.

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