BJP's Suvendu Adhikari(ANI file photo)
BJP's Suvendu Adhikari(ANI file photo)

Suvendu Adhikari accuses TMC of rigging in Lok Sabha polls

  • Adhikari alleged that the ruling TMC pressured officials to not count the votes in 16 EVMs in Arambagh Lok Sabha constituency, due to which, the BJP candidate lost the polls narrowly.
By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:35 AM IST

Former West Bengal minister and now the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prominent campaigner against the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Suvendu Adhikari, on Wednesday brought a serious charge of electoral malpractice against the ruling party, saying it did not allow the Hooghly district administration to count the votes in 16 electronic voting machines (EVM) at the Arambagh Lok Sabha constituency in 2019.

Aparupa Poddar, the sitting TMC MP from Arambagh defeated the BJP by 1,142 votes last year. The saffron camp, however, bagged the district’s Hooghly Lok Sabha seat. One EVM can record up to 2000 votes.

“The TMC pressured district officials to not count the votes in 16 machines. Otherwise, the BJP would have won the Arambagh seat. But we are surging ahead in the district. A number of TMC legislators will join us because they cannot work for the people if they stay in the ruling party,” Adhikari said at a rally at Mankundu in Hooghly district.

He made the allegation hours before the chief election commissioner of India, Sunil Arora, arrived in Kolkata with his entire team to review the ground situation before the assembly polls due in March-April.

Reacting to the allegation, Bengal’s deputy parliamentary affairs minister Tapas Roy said, “Adhikari is making random allegations. If such a malpractice took place, why didn’t he speak up one year ago?”

The TMC lost a prominent legislator on Wednesday, when Arindam Bhattacharya, who represents the Santipur assembly seat in Nadia district, joined the BJP in Delhi.

Bhattacharya, 40, an international trade lawyer and social entrepreneur who studied in foreign universities, won the seat on a Congress ticket in 2016 but joined the TMC a year later. He was earlier made president of the Bengal youth Congress. “I left my career to join politics because I wanted to work for the people. But there has been no progress, no industrialisation and no employment generation during the TMC regime,” said Bhattacharya.

Ranjan Banerjee, senior vice-president of a nationally known industrial group, also joined the BJP in Kolkata on Wednesday.

At the rally, Adhikari accused the TMC of corruption, saying it was running sand and coal smuggling operations. He also accused chief minister Mamata Banerjee of telling lies to the people and running the Centre’s welfare schemes by changing their names in Bengal.

“It is essential that the same party rules the nation and Bengal. Unless you (voters) drive out the TMC, people won’t get jobs. This government has kept appointments by the school service commission on hold for years. There is no industrial growth but you see only hefty expenses being made on annual investment summits,” said Adhikari.

He also appealed to Left voters to support the BJP in the interest of the state.

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