SC verdict proves opposition joined hands to malign Bengal: Mamata

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday termed the Supreme Court verdict on the recently held state panchayat polls as “a victory of democracy” and claimed the joint efforts of BJP, CPI-M and Congress to malign Bengal over the issue of uncontested seats during the election, have fallen flat.

In a boost to ruling Trinamool Congress, the Supreme Court on Friday permitted the notification of the results of 20,159 uncontested seats in the Panchayat polls and also ruled that there was no provision for the filing of e-nomination in the West Bengal Elections Act 2003.

The apex court, however, permitted the aggrieved candidates who could not file their nomination papers in the seats that went uncontested, to move the election tribunal within 30 days.

“This is a victory of democracy. The CPI-M, Congress and BJP worked together during the Panchayat elections to humiliate Bengal. The trio resorted to falsehood, propaganda and conspiracy to malign our state. The verdict given by the Supreme Court today is a proof of that,” Banerjee told the reporters at the state secretariat Nabanna.

Trinamool Congress supremo accused the CPI-M and Congress of working together with the BJP in Bengal in spreading falsehood, propaganda and conspiracy against her government here, even as the opposition parties at the centre are working together to form an alliance against the saffron outfit.

“We are trying to form an allied opposition (against the BJP) in Delhi. But in Bengal CPI-M, Congress and BJP are working together. They tried to malign us over the number of uncontested seats during the Panchayat polls. But there were many rural body elections across the country that had more number of uncontested seats,” she claimed.

“In states like Arunachal and Sikkim, close to 80 gram Panchayat seats were uncontested in previous elections. Even in Uttrar Pradesh, 67 per cent seats were uncontested. There were uncontested seats during panchayat elections in Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Madhya Pradesh. But some people tried to humiliate Bengal without looking at these data,” she alleged.

Earlier in the day Trinamool leader and state Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee termed the apex court verdict as a slap in the face of the opposition parties who wanted re-election in the uncontested seats.

“It is not just a defeat for them (opposition parties) but is a tight slap on their faces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have criticised the Panchayat election results in Bengal many times during the rallies here. After the apex court’s verdict today, they should apologise to the people,” he said.

The BJP accepted the apex court verdict and vowed to take on the Trinamool democratically, saying people would have the last word.

“We accept the Suprme Court verdict. We’ll fight against the Trinamool through democratic means. We will take them on in the coming Lok Sabha polls. The people of the state will have the last word,” said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

However, Left Front spearhead CPI-M claimed the Supreme Court verdict was “not at all” a victory for the Trinamool Congress but proved that the panchayat election process lacked transparency.

“This is not Trinamool’s Victory. It has given 30 days’ time to file election petitions. This makes it clear that the election process was not transparent,” he said.

“The BJP central leadership is always keen to ensure the Trinamool does not land in a soup,” he added, complaining of an nexus between the two parties.