Besides West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, four Trinamool Congress candidates who lost narrowly in the recent Assembly Election have approached the Calcutta High Court for a review of the results.
The four petitions were heard Friday by different judges of Calcutta High Court and deferred to dates in late June and early July.
Shantiram Mahato—who lost to BJP’s Baneshwar Mahato by just 423 votes in Balarampur—appealed to the High Court alleging malpractice in counting. The matter was heard by Justice Subhasis Dasgupta who directed that all documents relating to the seat should be preserved. The next hearing date is on July 15.
TMC’s Bongaon Dakshin candidate, Alorani Sarkar, submitted that BJP’s Swapan Majumder did not reveal proper information in this affidavit to Election Commission and gave an incorrect statement regarding his educational qualification. Majumder won by 2,008 votes. Justice Bibek Chaudhuri directed the BJP candidate to file an affidavit before the court within two weeks.
Sangram Dolui, who lost to BJP’s Ashok Dinda by 1,260 votes in Moyna, also alleged irregularities in counting. Justice Tirthankar Ghosh earmarked June 25 for hearing the case.
And Manas Majumder—who contested from Goghat and lost by 4,147 votes against Biswanath Karak—alleged before the High Court that the BJP candidate deliberately hid information on his criminal cases in his EC affidavit. Justice Suvra Ghosh will hear the matter on July 9.
But it’s not just TMC candidates who are seeking a review of the results. The BJP has stated that it is also considering approaching the High Court for reevaluation in some seats.
“Our legal team is also discussing the merits. There are some seats where we may approach the High Court for evaluation of results,” said its state chief Dilip Ghosh.
Chief Minister Banerjee had filed a petition with the Calcutta High Court alleging malpractice and appealing for reevaluation of results of the Nandigram assembly seat. Suvendu Adhikari, the TMC-turned-BJP leader, won from this seat by 1,956 votes.
On Friday, Justice Kausik Chanda deferred the hearing on this case to June 24. Banerjee, through advocate Sanjay Basu, wrote to Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal asking for the case to be ‘reassigned’, alleging the “closeness” of the judge with BJP and a “likelihood of bias”.
TMC leaders shared old pictures of the judge participating in a programme organized by the BJP’s legal cell. BJP leaders had stated that Chanda had participated in programmes and fought cases when he was a senior advocate, that it was common practice, and criticised TMC for questioning the “neutrality” of the judge.