The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Wednesday demanded the cancellation of the nomination of BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari, who is pitted against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram, as his name also “seems to appear” in the electoral roll of Haldia constituency.
This development came barely days after Adhikari, once a close aide of Banerjee, demanded cancellation of the TMC supremo’s nomination from Nandigram seat.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien in a letter to the Electoral Registration Officer of Nandigram assembly constituency alleged that Adhikari’s name “seems to appear” in the electoral rolls of both Nandigram and Haldia assembly constituencies and this is not permitted as per Section 17 of the Representation of The People Act of 1951.
Section 17 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mentions that no person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for more than one constituency.
It also appears that Adhikari had filed an application for migration of his name from Haldia assembly constituency to Nandigram constituency, the TMC MP said, by providing “false particulars of his residence”.
He claimed that this became evident as Adhikari was found to be ‘absent’ at the time of field visit by a booth level officer (BLO) for verification.
The TMC MP claimed that Adhikari has not resided at Nandanayakbar village, which falls under Nandigram constituency, over the past six months, “let alone being a permanent resident thereof”.
“As per Section 19 of the RP Act, only a person who is ‘ordinarily resident’ in a constituency may be registered as a voter in the electoral rolls of such constituency. Hence he is not entitled to ‘migration’ and his migration is bad in law,” the letter read.
The TMC leader said the Electoral Registration Officer should forthwith delete the name of Adhikari from the electoral roll of Nandigram assembly constituency and urged appropriate legal action, including criminal proceedings, be initiated against him.
“The nomination paper submitted by Adhikari from Nandigram constituency be also struck down”, he added.
Adhikari had sought rejection of the nomination of the West Bengal chief minister for not declaring six criminal cases against her while filing her papers.
In his complaint to the Election Commission, Adhikari had claimed she suppressed the information about five cases filed against her in Assam and another lodged by the CBI in West Bengal.
However, CBI sources had said it was a different Mamata Banerjee who was having cases relating to disproportionate assets pending against her and not Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In a significant ruling in March 2018, the Supreme Court had said the returning officer for an election can reject nomination papers of a candidate for non-disclosure and suppression of information, including those related to their assets and criminal background.
It had ruled that voters have a fundamental right to know about their candidates and leaving columns blank in the nomination paper amounts to violation of their right.