Mamata Banerjee challenges her rival’s electoral victory
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken a higher court in the state capital of Kolkata over the victory of his former protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari of Nandigram in last month’s parliamentary elections. The Calcutta High Court is due to hear Mamata’s petition on Friday morning, her lawyer said.
On May 2, Mamata single-handedly clinched a landslide victory in the legislative elections for the third time in a row, standing up to the ruling opposition and avoiding a massive challenge from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi . Although her Trinamool Congress party returned to power with an overwhelming majority, it lost its own seat in Nandigram to star BJP activist Suvendu by a slim margin of around 2,000 votes.
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In her plea, Mamata asked the High Court to declare Suvendu’s electoral victory null and void on the grounds that he engaged in corrupt practices and demanded votes on the basis of religion. “Suvendu Adhikari engaged in several corrupt practices which increased her chances of winning and significantly affected Mamata Banerjee’s chances of success in the election,” reads her petition.
In her petition, the fiery politician also alleged discrepancies in the vote count, according to Mamata’s lawyer Sanjay Bose. “The High Court will likely hear the plea around 11 am Friday,” he told media.
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Although Mamata conceded defeat to Suvendu in Nandigram – the pot-boiler of the Bengal assembly election – the Trinamool supremo said on count day only that it would challenge the result in court. “I will move the court against Suvendu’s victory,” she said.
West Bengal was the scene of the most publicized competition in India’s recent state elections. As Mamata insisted on being the daughter of Bengal, the BJP called on people to vote for “socio-economic change and development” after nearly 50 years of Communist rule and the Trinamool Congress.
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