By PTI

KOLKATA: Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday claimed that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were changed before counting in four assembly constituencies where by-elections were held on October 30, and TMC candidates won by huge victory margins.

Alleging that in certain booths, the number of votes secured by the BJP was less than that of the voters in the families of saffron party leaders and workers, Adhikari wondered how this had happened.

The ruling TMC rejected the allegations as baseless, saying the by-polls were held under the Election Commission and counting took place under tight security by central force personnel.

“EVMs in four assembly segments were altered before counting. Otherwise, how can Subrata Mondal in Gosaba and Udayan Guha in Dinhata win by such a huge margin? I have information that the EVM used in Behala Purba constituency (during the assembly elections) earlier this year was counted in Gosaba,” Adhikari said at a function in Kolkata.

Guha won the Dinhata bypoll by a record margin of 1.64 lakh while Mondal emerged victorious by 1.43 lakh votes from Gosaba.

The TMC’s Braja Kishore Goswami defeated his nearest BJP rival by 64,675 votes in Santipur, while in the Khardah assembly segment, state minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay beat the BJP nominee by a margin of 93,832 votes.

While BJP leader Nisith Pramanik, who became Union minister later, won the assembly election by a wafer-thin margin of just 57 votes defeating Guha from the Dinhata seat earlier this year, another BJP MP Jagannath Sarkar won by a comfortable margin of 15,878 votes from Santipur.

The two, however, resigned as MLAs to keep their memberships in the Lok Sabha after the TMC secured a landslide victory, necessitating the by-polls.

“In the Santipur College booth, the TMC bagged 478 votes and the BJP 8.There are 20 BJP workers in that booth and the total number of voters in their families is 92. At a booth in Gosaba, one leader has eight voters in his family but the BJP got only one vote. How are these possible?” Adhikari said, indicating malpractices during the bt-elections.

The allegations do not make any sense, TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

“The by-polls were held under the Election Commission’s supervision. The counting took place under tight security by central force personnel. Adhikari is cooking up such absurd stories hide BJP leaders’ failure to stop the quick erosion of support base after tall claims made before the assembly elections,” he said.

After the by-polls, the tally of the TMC in the state assembly rose to 217, while that of the BJP came down to 75.