BJP may also challenge poll results in some seats, says Bengal’s Dilip Ghosh
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been criticising the Mamata Banerjee government over the law and order situation in the state, fired another round on Saturday from Delhi.
KOLKATA: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may file election petitions to challenge election results of seats lost by its candidates by a wafer-thin margin, the party’s state president Dilip Ghosh said on Saturday, days after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and four Trinamool Congress leaders filed similar petitions in the Calcutta high court.
“Our legal cell is exploring all options and where the petition could be filed. We are also planning to file Election Petitions. We have identified the seats. Our lawyers are taking preparations,” said Dilip Ghosh.
Mamata Banerjee, who lost the fiercely fought battle in Nandigram to the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in May, had announced her decision to file the petition minutes after the Election Commission rejected her request for a recount after declaring her defeat.
She filed her petition on Thursday. The following day, four more Trinamool Congress candidates filed their petitions against the results declared in Balarampur, Goghat, Moyna and Bongaon Dakshin constituencies, four of the 77 seats that had gone to the BJP.
Ghosh first hinted at the BJP’s plan to challenge the election results on Friday when he underlined that the option exercised by the Trinamool Congress was open to the BJP also.
“The chief minister lost from Nandigram. When counting was going on TMC agents were present and after every round they signed the results. But even after that the TMC moved court. They have the right. We would all have to abide by the court orders. In the same way we can also move court. There are certain seats which the BJP lost by a narrow margin. Let the court decide,” Ghosh told reporters on Friday.
Bengal minister and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim said the BJP was afraid that if elections were held again on the seats lost by the Trinamool candidates, their tally in the assembly would dip.
“They had set a target of 200 seats and suffered a humiliating defeat (with 77 seats). There are apprehensions that they (BJP) may lose by a bigger margin (if elections are again held in those seats),” said Firhad Hakim.
To be sure, the BJP’s performance, irrespective of its ambitious target of 200 seats, won just three seats and a 10.2% vote share in the previous 2016 assembly elections. In the 2021 elections, the BJP ended up with a 38% vote share, just 10 percentage points less than the Trinamool’s 48%.
The BJP has, after the election results, kept up the pressure on the Mamata Banerjee government over the law and order situation in the state, particularly over violence that the opposition party insists was directed at its cadre.
The alleged deterioration of the law and order in Bengal is a point that has been repeatedly articulated by Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as well. On Saturday, Dhankhar, who is in Delhi, fired another round at the state government.
“We cannot compromise with democracy, Constitution and rule-of-law. I am sure everyone will listen to my voice and rise to the occasion to try and wipe the tears of those families and people who had to leave their houses, whose near and dear ones have been killed, injured, whose houses have been subjected to arson and loot. We cannot live in a democracy if people, in order to live in their own house and run their own small business, have to pay an extortion fee,” Dhankhar said in Delhi.
Dhankhar, who has been in Delhi since Wednesday, has met Union home minister Amit Shah at least twice apart from meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other Union ministers.
The Trinamool Congress, which has accused the governor of promoting the BJP’s agenda, called Dhankhar’s attack “wild allegations to malign the state”.
“The BJP is not being able to digest the humiliating defeat in the assembly elections and has now resorted to some dirty tricks and conspiracy. The governor is a part of it. It is a mystery whether the governor is running from door-to-door in Delhi to save his own chair or to hatch the next step of the conspiracy,” said TMC spokesperson and Bengal general secretary Kunal Ghosh.