Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari on Monday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, demanding that her nomination from Nandigram district be rejected as she had allegedly not declared six pending criminal cases in her election affidavit, NDTV reported. He accused Banerjee of “suppression of facts”.
The former Trinamool Congress leader is pitted against Banerjee in Nandigram in the upcoming Assembly elections, which will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.
In a letter to the poll panel, the former state minister claimed that Banerjee withheld information about five cases filed against her in Assam, and another one lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation in West Bengal.
He also attached links to three news reports where he said the information needed to support his allegations was available. One of them is an India Today article from August 2018, about how the Assam Police had, at that time, registered five cases against Banerjee for “making provocative remarks regarding the Assam National Register of Citizens”.
“She [Banerjee] has moved to the Calcutta High Court for quashing of one FIR,” Adhikari told reporters after filing the complaint. “It was rejected. I have presented all information during scrutiny. The Election Commission will have to question it.”
However, an unidentified senior CBI official told the Hindustan Times that the CBI case mentioned by Adhikari involved a different woman and not the chief minister. The accused’s name was also Mamata Banerjee, the official said.
But Adhikari remained adamant saying he would not just stop short at filing a complaint. “The Election Commission will examine if those cases are pending,” he said, according to NDTV. “After they examine, I hope they will give justice according to law. If I do not get justice, I will take it forward.”
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told The Indian Express that Banerjee will certainly respond to the letter, once the Election Commission receives it. “Besides, there can be several cases against a person holding important posts,” he added. “Unless they are involved in those cases officially or get official intimation, they are not bound to disclose them in the affidavit.”
Ghosh mocked the BJP, saying the party had become “so desperate” that they were now accusing Banerjee without verifying facts. “The CBI case is actually against someone else with the same name,” he added. “They are trying to malign Mamata Banerjee’s image as they know that their candidate from Nandigram will not be able to win.”
Banerjee had filed her nomination from Nandigram last week against Adhikari, who won the seat in 2016 for the Trinamool Congress. A day later, she was injured in an alleged attack, which became a flashpoint between her party, the BJP and the Election Commission.