The counting in Nandigram was ‘fishy” and the Trinamool Congress is raising the issue with the Election Commission, senior party leader Derek O’Brien said today, pointing to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s defeat from the constituency that was at the heart of her party’s resounding victory over the Left a decade ago.
Ms Banerjee, after a cliff-hanger counting session through the day, was declared beaten by her aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari. The margin of her defeat was a paltry 1,736 votes in the contest that was the centre-piece of the mammoth, eight-phase assembly election.
“Something is fishy about Nandigram, don’t you think? A party wins nearly three-fourths of all the seats in the state and the Chief Minister loses her seat – something very fishy went on in Nandigram. And we are on our way to the Election Commission as we speak to raise the issue,” Mr O’Brien said in an interview to NDTV.
The Election Commissioner has been “disgraceful and devious”, added the senior leader. “We respect the institution of the Election Commission, but not the current people at the helm of affairs,” he added.
Earlier today, Mamata Banerjee declared that she accepts the verdict in Nandigram but would approach the court over “malpractices”.
“Let the Nandigram people give whatever verdict they want, I accept that. Nandigram was a sacrifice that was needed in the larger victory. We have won the state,” said the Chief Minister, whose party is heading for a stupendous 210-plus seat victory.
“But I will go to the court because I have heard there were some malpractices,” she added.
Ms Banerjee had promised to go to court against the Election Commission several times in the run-up to the polls. Her party has initially objected to the exhausting, eight-phase programme drawn up by the Commission and accused it of favouring the BJP.
Mr O’Brien directly took on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah, accusing them of acting like “thugs and cheap shots, who have come here and made catcalls and finally they were made to sush”.
“I want to say here that this is the last time that Modi and Amit Shah have come here and ridiculed women and made catcalls at them. The women of India and the women of Bengal have a message for you Mr Modi – enough is enough, Mr Modi,” he added.