The Telegraph
Friday , May 19 , 2017

TMC tally tells a tale

- Abnormal spike in vote share backs vitiation cry, say officials

Raiganj, ward 16, booth 47: Trinamul's vote share is 96 per cent.

Domkal, ward 1, booth 2: Trinamul's vote share is 97 per cent.

Pujali, ward 7, booth 15: Trinamul's vote share is 77 per cent.

May 18 : The emergence of such "anomalous" booth-level details seemingly vindicate the Opposition's allegation of "rampant vitiation" by Trinamul in Sunday's polls to the three civic bodies in Bengal, several political scientists and a section of bureaucrats have said.

The numbers reveal numerous instances of booths where the ruling party has secured well over 90 per cent of the votes and the Opposition, collectively, has not even reached the three-figure mark in absolute numbers.

Political observers pointed out that even in the Assembly polls last year that Trinamul swept effortlessly, it's vote share was nowhere close to what it secured in the three civic bodies.

"In the Assembly polls to Raiganj (including the Raiganj civic body), Trinamul secured 24.63 per cent in May last year. In May this year, it got over 65 per cent of the votes in the civic polls," said Biswanath Chakraborty, professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University.

He also cited the instance of the Domkal Assembly seat, which includes the civic body, where Trinamul secured 33.07 per cent votes last May, a tally it has improved to over 76 per cent this time.

"These anomalous vote shares at the booth-level, the sharp rise in the overall vote share in a year's time, these are indicators of vitiation. They have to be taken seriously in the wake of the complaints by the Opposition," he added.

Despite repeated pleas from the Opposition to conduct re-polls in many, if not all, booths of the three civic bodies, state election commissioner A.K. Singh had ordered fresh elections in only six booths - five of which the ruling party lost.

Singh did not respond to calls from this paper today.

Sources at Nabanna said the details were almost identical to those of elections during the Left rule in the 1990s. They said Trinamul, then in the Opposition, would repeatedly draw attention to such numbers to claim vitiation by the Front.

Sources in the Election Commission of India, which conducts the parliamentary and Assembly polls, said there was little to be done - unless the elections are challenged in the judiciary - by the state poll panel after the results have been declared.

"We are sending these details to the Centre and the Election Commission of India. I will share these things with President Pranab Mukherjee too.... This is how elections are being conducted in the Trinamul regime," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.

Leader of the Left legislature party Sujan Chakraborty said if polls had been free, fair and peaceful, Trinamul would have lost in Domkal and Raiganj.

The ruling party, however, stood by its claim that it was a massive "clean" mandate in favour of Mamata Banerjee.

"What they claim is not our problem. These claims are an insult to the people and their clean verdict for our supreme leader and the party," said a senior Trinamul leader.

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