Nandigram Officer Said Recounting Order Could Risk His Life: WB CM

Mamata Banerjee was speaking about her sudden, last-minute defeat against Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram.

Updated
India
3 min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
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The Returning Officer (RO) of the Nandigram constituency has been given police protection according to instructions by the Election Commission to the West Bengal government.

This is the same officer who, West Bengal Chief Minister-designate Mamata Banerjee had said, feared for his life and, hence, did not allow recounting in that seat, where she lost to Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Suvendu Adhikari by a close margin.

Speaking on her sudden, last-minute defeat against her former aide Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram in the West Bengal Assembly elections, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday, 3 May, said, “For four hours, server was down. The Governor also congratulated me. Suddenly everything changed,” ANI reported.

On Monday, Banerjee alleged that according to a purported message by the returning officer (RO) of Nandigram, his life would be under threat if he ordered a recount and added that she will move court, PTI reported.

Sources in the Election Commission (EC) told The Indian Express that a report was submitted by the poll body’s observer, which stated that the RO was indeed under pressure, but it came from the TMC to agree to a recount of all EVM votes in Nandigram.

The EC had also asked the state government to give protection to the RO, and stated that it was up to them to give protection to the RO.

Banerjee alleged that, “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,” and asked, “What was the harm if recounting was allowed?”

Following the TMC’s decisive victory, winning 213 of the 292 seats, the party’s chief and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged everyone to “maintain peace and not indulge in any violence”.

“We know BJP and Central forces have tortured us a lot, but we have to maintain peace. At present, we have to fight COVID-19,” the CM said in her victory speech.

Her appeal came after reports of violence targeting BJP offices in the state surfaced. “They (BJP) are posting photographs of old riots as is their habit. I don't like any violence. Why is BJP doing that?” ANI quoted the CM as saying.

The soon-to-be three-time CM of West Bengal also declared all journalists as COVID warriors on Monday.

Speaking on the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in the country, Banerjee said,

“We're requesting the Centre to sanction Rs 30,000 crore for universal vaccination across the country. I have learnt that they're sending maximum vaccines and oxygen to just two-three states,” ANI quoted.

The CM is scheduled to hold a meeting with party leaders at the TMC headquarters in Kolkata later today, PTI reported.

Prime Minister Modi, who had widely participated in West Bengal campaign rallies with Union minister Amit Shah, sent out a congratulatory tweet late last evening. However, Banerjee pointed out in her speech, “This is the first time a Prime Minister did not call.”

Mamata’s Backhanded Support to the Left

For the first time since Independence, there will be no representatives of the Left or Congress in the West Bengal Assembly.

The Left Front received unexpected sympathy from Banerjee on Monday, saying, “I am opposed to them politically but I don’t want to see them as zero.”

Indicating that she prefers the Left over the BJP, she added, “If they had won seats instead of BJP it would have been good. In their over zealousness to favour the BJP, they have sold themselves and become a signboard. They have to think about this,” NDTV reported.

Manoj Bhattacharya, leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, was quoted as saying, “It’s a catastrophe. One autocrat has registered her victory over another autocrat. The common people thought to resist the BJP, Trinamool is the only alternative. Our combination with Abbas Siddiqui did not yield the desired result.”

Though many Left leaders asserted that West Bengal saw an anti-BJP vote, which consolidated around the TMC, the disillusionment with the Left also seems to be a result of the party's alliance with the Congress, devised in 2016.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI and The Indian Express)

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