The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mystery of monster margins

Calcutta, June 22: A day after the Left Front splashed the town red, Mamata Banerjee said there was no way she could win an election in Bengal as the ruling CPM and its allies resorted to 'unfair means'.

Quoting the huge victory margins of CPM candidates in different wards in the civic polls in north and central Calcutta, she claimed: 'We could have easily fared better had there been free and fair elections.'

A boothwise analysis of wards identified by The Telegraph shows that several successful CPM candidates logged an abnormally high number of votes compared to Mamata's Trinamul or the Congress.

Mamata said her party could have posted a better performance in north and central Calcutta had booths there not been captured, voters intimidated or party agents driven out.

'I have reason to believe the election was not fair even in ward 100 from where mayor-designate Bikash Bhattacharya was elected,' she alleged. 'Trinamul's Partha Chatterjee has lodged a complaint.'

Left Front nominees bagged as much as 90 per cent of the votes in several booths of south Calcutta and its fringe areas too, she said.

In the Kudghat area (ward 114) of south Calcutta, CPM nominee Amal Mitra defeated Trinamul's Tania Chatterjee by 10,227 votes. Chatterjee bagged only 3,557.

The booth-wise voting pattern in the ward was also skewed. In booths 10 and 11, the CPM polled 761 and 681 votes, leaving Trinamul only 67 and 89.

'From where did they produce these votes after making ours vanish' You won't find this kind of magic even in a Harry Potter tale,' said Mukul Roy, a senior Trinamul leader.

Outgoing mayor Subrata Mukherjee, who split with Trinamul to float the United Democratic Alliance, echoed Mamata. 'Our poor show can be attributed to this phenomenon,' he claimed.

Former PCC chief Somen Mitra said a list of wards was being drawn up where the CPM allegedly adopted unfair means to win the polls.

An instance is ward 19 (Sovabazar area) where Trinamul's Badal Mondal lost the seat to CPM's Aloke Paik by over 3,000 votes. In booth 1 of this ward, Paik bagged 800 votes against Mondal's 87. In booth 2, he got only 47 votes against the CPM's 837.

In Cossipore (ward 1) and adjoining areas, the situation was worse. Trinamul's Mohammed Salim and Congress nominee Mani Shankar Singh withdrew from the fray in protest against alleged unfair practices.

'Our agents were not allowed to sit inside the booths,' alleged Salim, a teacher in a local Urdu medium school.

Boothwise results in the ward indicated Trinamul and Congress nominees bagged an abnormally low vote count compared to the CPM candidate. In booths 3 and 4, the CPM nominee bagged 753 and 837 votes but Trinamul got only 48 and 15.

CPM MP Sudhangshu Seal said the huge margins reflected the people's disillusionment with the Trinamul-BJP combine, which neglected development in north and central Calcutta. 'It is well known that they concentrated only on south Calcutta at the expense of the rest of the city.'

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