The Election Commission sent a notice to TMC's Sujata Mondal Khan for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct during the campaign for the West Bengal elections. This was based on a complaint by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who alleged that she made disparaging remarks against the Scheduled Caste community in an interview to a news channel. The poll body sought an explanation from Khan within 24 hours failing which it would take a decision without any further reference to her. Most importantly, it has warned of suspending her star campaigner status for a few days.
"As there is scarcity of resources in the Scheduled Caste families, no matter how much, Mamata Bandyopadhyay has helped them, the scarcity will not go. As there is a saying, some are actually beggars and others are beggars by nature. The Scheduled Castes here are beggars by nature, and in spite of Mamata Bandyopadhyay helping them so much, still they have been sold to BJP for a petty amount and are now torturing us. Today my vehicle's glass was damaged and they were after me with lathis, guns, bombs, etc. to kill me. And I can clearly make out that they are BJP supporters," these remarks attracted the EC's ire.
In the Assembly election, Khan contested on a TMC ticket from the Arambagh constituency which went to the polls in the third phase. While she never contested a formal election during her BJP stint, she is credited for managing her husband Saumitra Khan's successful campaign in the Bishnupur Lok Sabha constituency in his absence. After she jumped ship to BJP on December 21, 2020, her husband expressed dismay at her decision, severed all relations with her and sent her a divorce notice.
Election Commission of India has sought an explanation from TMC's Sujata Mondal (file photo) within 24 hours on the complaint of BJP for her "disparaging remarks against Scheduled Caste community in an interview to a TV channel" pic.twitter.com/Xigge9FfpT— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2021
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had swept the 2016 Assembly polls by bagging 211 seats in the 294-member Assembly. In West Bengal, 294 seats are up for grabs and people will be able to cast their votes at 1,01,916 polling stations. Buoyed by its stupendous 2019 Lok Sabha performance, BJP is looking to oust TMC and is aiming at winning over 200 seats this time. While Congress was the second-largest party in 2016, it has tied with the Left and the ISF to form the Sanjukta Morcha.
The voter turnout for the seats that went to the polls in the first, second, third and fourth phases was 84.63 per cent, 86.11 per cent, 84.61 per cent and 79.90 per cent respectively. The polling for the remaining phases will take place on April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. Meanwhile, the election results will be declared on May 2.