Following Trinamool Congress’ demand for recounting of votes in the Nandigram Assembly constituency in West Bengal where Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee suffered a close defeat against her one-time aide Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, the Election Commission on Tuesday clarified that the “only legal remedy is to file an EP (Execution Petition) before the High Court”.

After the declaration of Assembly election results on Sunday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had approached state Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab demanding recounting of votes in Nandigram, following the Returning Officer’s decision to not allow the same.

The EC on Tuesday made it clear that the Returning Officer (RO) of an Assembly constituency performs statutory functions under the RP Act, 1951 in “quasi-judicial” capacity independently.

The commission said that the RO takes a decision which can only be challenged through an election petition under Section 80 of the RP Act, 1951.

The poll panel said that after the counting in Nandigram, the polling agent of a particular candidate (Mamata Banerjee) had requested for recounting, which was rejected by the RO.

“…In such a case, the only legal remedy is to file an EP before the High Court,” the EC said.

The poll panel said that in this regard, the Chief Electoral Officer in West Bengal has made available a copy of the order of the RO and other relevant materials related to counting, while the General Observer for the Assembly constituency has also furnished a report in the matter.

The EC further said that the election related officials on the ground perform in extremely competitive political environment with full transparency and fairness, and therefore attribution of any motive in such cases is not desirable.