Arabul wins while in cop custody, 5 Independents taste victory
Kolkata: The election results at Bhangar in South 24-Parganas remained a point of discussion throughout the day, with Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam winning contest while in police custody, whereas five of the eight Independent candidates who had filed their nomination through WhatsApp, also won the polls.
Reacting to the victory of Arabul from within police custody, Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: "It was not proved whether Arabul was guilty or not. But I had instructed the police to arrest him on the basis of allegations. Arabul, his son and even his wife have won from Bhangar. If people there did not have love for him (Arabul), then he would not have been able to win."
It may be mentioned that Arabul Islam was arrested in connection with the murder of a supporter of an Independent candidate in Bhangar on May 11, three days before the polls in Bengal. It was the Chief Minister who had directed the police to arrest Arabul, as soon as allegations of the latter's involvement in the murder surfaced.
As the election results were announced, it was found that Arabul had defeated Independent candidate Shariful Islam, backed by Land and Livelihood Protection Committee, with a margin of 2,270 votes at Bhangar 2 Panchayat Samiti seat. His son Hakimul won by 1,287 votes from Polerhat 2 Gram Panchayat.
It may be mentioned that in Bhangar 2 Panchayat Samiti, there was no Opposition candidate in 29 out of 30 seats. The only candidate was fielded in the seat in which Arabul contested.
In Polerhat 2 Gram Panchayat, there were contests in eight seats out of 16. Out of these, Independent candidates backed by Land and Livelihood Protection Committee won in five seats, much to the discomfiture of Arabul's son Hakimul, who was the pradhan of the Gram Panchayat.
These candidates had moved the Calcutta High Court, pleading acceptance of their applications filed through WhatsApp, which was allowed by the court. Following this, the State Election Commission accepted their nominations. They had alleged that they failed to appear physically to file their applications, as they were prevented from doing so by the ruling party.
It may be mentioned that the Land and Livelihood Protection Committee, popularly known as Jomi Jibika Bastutantra Rokkha Committee, has been leading a stir against a power grid station at Bhangar. The place has often been on the boil since January 2017, with Arabul Islam and his supporters clashing repeatedly with the villagers participating in the agitation against land-acquisition for the power grid. Police suspect the agitation has the support of ultra-Left group Red Star, many of whose members were arrested under UAPA.