Belying all expectations, the TMC secured a landslide victory in the Assembly elections, overcoming the might of the BJP after a bitter campaign that had turned into a virtual duel between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By evening the trends were clear: Banerjee's Trinamool Congress had won an absolute majority winning 202 seats and was leading in 11 more out of 292 constituencies which went to the polls with some 48 per cent of the votes counted so far. However, in Nandigram, which was the cynosure of all eyes due to its high octane election, BJP star candidate Suvendu Adhikari outsmarted the TMC supremo by a margin of 1,956 votes to emerge the winner in the constituency, the Election Commission said.
While Adhikari bagged 1,10,764 votes, Banerjee, his one time mentor, managed 1,08808 votes, the poll panel confirmed. CPI(M)'s Minakshi Mukherjee finished in a distant third position polling just 6267 votes, the EC website said. There was massive confusion on who had actually bagged the crucial Nandigram seat after reports stating that Banerjee had defeated Adhikari appeared in different media though there was no confirmation from the Election Commission.
While Adhikari thanked the people of Nandigram for voting in his favour, the TMC demanded recounting, alleging illegal incidents during Sunday's counting. After the returning officer turned down its plea for an immediate recounting, the TMC wrote to the CEO asking him to reconsider it.
The TMC has written to the CEO requesting an immediate recounting of votes, party sources said, alleging "tampering and mismanagement of numbers from the EVM and said that the counting process was stalled from time to time and was not reported by the poll panel. The party in its letter to the CEO also alleged that valid votes in favour of Banerjee were rejected while invalid votes for the BJP were counted.
The TMC also described the refusal of the Returning Officer to conduct recounting of the votes as "bad in law and coloured".
The CEO is yet to reply to the TMC's plea. "We are looking into the matter. A decision will be taken soon," an official said.
Meanwhile, Suvendu Adhikari took to Twitter to thank the people for voting in his favour and choosing him as their representative.
"My sincere thanks to the great People of Nandigram for their love, trust, blessings, and support, and for choosing me as their representative and the MLA from #Nandigram. It is my never-ending commitment to be of service to them and working for their welfare. I am truly grateful!," Adhikari tweeted.