The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday wrote to the Election Commission alleging that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not declare criminal cases pending against her in the nomination papers for the Bhabanipur bye-polls, reported News18. The state unit of the BJP has urged the poll body to reject her nomination.
The bye-polls will be held on September 30 and the results will be announced on October 3.
Banerjee needs to win the bye-elections to get elected as an MLA in order to continue as the chief minister. In the elections held in April, Banerjee had lost the Nandigram seat to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari by a margin of 1,956 votes.
Last week, Banerjee had filed nomination papers to contest the bye-polls from Bhabanipur Assembly constituency. The BJP had nominated lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal to contest against her.
On Tuesday, Tibrewal’s chief election agent Sajal Ghosh told News18 that that he has filed a complaint with the returning officer of Bhabanipur constituency. He said that Banerjee has five criminal cases registered against her in BJP-ruled Assam.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, Ghosh said, that a candidate cannot hide such details while filing nomination papers.
A Trinamool Congress leader told News18 that Banerjee was only required to disclose cases if her name was mentioned in the chargesheet.
Party leader Saugata Roy accused the BJP of engaging in “low politics” after it lost the West Bengal Assembly elections “miserably”.
“The EC has already accepted her nomination and scrutiny [of her papers] has been done,” Roy told News18. “Our leader Mamata Banerjee is going to secure the Bhabanipur seat with a record margin. BJP knows it well that they are going to lose this seat and therefore they are indulged in such cheap politics”.
This is not the first time the BJP has asked the Election Commission to reject Banerjee’s nomination. Ahead of the Assembly polls earlier this year, Adhikari had also alleged that the chief minister had not declared the five criminal cases in Assam and another one filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Adhikari had cited three news reports which he said had the information to support his claims. One of them was an India Today article from August 2018, saying the police had then filed the cases against Banerjee for “making provocative remarks regarding the Assam National Register of Citizens”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had clarified that it had not filed any case against Banerjee. At that time, the Election Commission did not take any action based on Adhikari’s complaint.