After elections, TMC and BJP now battling in the courts

New Delhi: Almost six months after the West Bengal Assembly polls, the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are still battling it out in the courts over the electoral outcome. At least 15 candidates, who had lost in the polls, have approached the Calcutta High Court.

These petitions have been filed under the Representation of the People Act, 1951. While the BJP candidates have filed 10, the TMC candidates including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are petitioners in five cases.

Ms. Banerjee had approached the Calcutta High Court after losing the Nandigram Assembly seat by a narrow margin of 1,956 votes. She filed the petition in June and the matter was assigned to Justice Kaushik Chanda. The TMC chairperson prayed that the petition be transferred to another bench. The matter is now pending before Justice Shampa Sarkar and will come up for hearing on December 1.

The other TMC candidates are Alo Rani Sarkar (Bongaon Dakshin), Sangram Kumar Doloi (Moyna), Manas Majumdar (Goghat) and Santiram Mahato (Balarmpur). All of them lost to the BJP candidates.

Similarly, 10 BJP candidates have filed petitions before the Calcutta High Court after losing to the TMC nominees. They include leaders like Jitendra Kumar Tiwari (Pandaveshwar), Kalyan Choubey (Manicktala) and Swadhin Kumar Sarkar (Baisabnagar).

Legal experts point out that the petitions can go on for months, may be for years. In 1996, Manas Ranjan Bhuniya, who was with the Congress, had filed a petition challenging the election of his opponent Makhan Lal Bangal from the Sabang Assembly seat. By the time the courts ruled in favour of Dr. Bhuniya and declared the election of Mr. Bangal void, the term of the Assembly was almost over.