Updated: April 3, 2021 5:19:08 am
A day after the high-voltage electoral contest in Nandigram and 29 other seats, the Trinamool Congress and the BJP went to the Election Commission (EC) and levelled allegations against one another.
While the Opposition party accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of violating the model code of conduct in Nandigram’s Boyal area, the TMC delegation spoke to the EC about glitches in some Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and complained about the alleged partisan behaviour of the central forces deputed for security at polling stations. The state’s ruling party also accused BJP supporters of “unleashing disturbances during the polls”.
The high-level TMC delegation that met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab was led by the party’s vice-president and former Union Cabinet minister Yashwant Sinha, and state minister Subrata Mukherjee. After the meeting, Sinha told reporters, “We discovered there were issues with EVMs and gave the EC a list of such glitches so that it is not repeated again.”
In a letter to the poll body, the TMC alleged that the central armed police forces (CAPFs) were acting at the behest of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Accusing the forces of “dishonesty” and “fraud” to immobilise the country’s democratic setup, it said, “The CAPF, under instructions of the Home Minister, has acted in complete departure from its duty and responsibility to act impartially by being a mute spectator to the continual violence perpetrated by BJP and its goons; perpetrating violence and intimidating electors voting for AITC, and inducing voters to vote in favour of BJP.”
The TMC added, “There has been widespread and rampant violence in the various ACs that underwent elections during Phase I and II wherein the electors were threatened, intimidated, terrorised, and beaten up by members and stooges of BJP to prevent them from casting votes in favour of them.”
Meanwhile, the BJP delegation to the Commission was led by the party’s senior state leader Shishir Bajoria. The Opposition party sought action against Mamata Banerjee for protesting at a polling booth in Boyal and accused her of provoking TMC workers and disturbing the poll process. The BJP, however, said it was happy with the work done by the central forces.
“TMC is levelling allegations every day, and they are pressuring the EC on various issues. Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee went to Nandigram. She went to booth 7 and sat there for two hours. A candidate can always go to a booth but she should not break the law while Section 144 was imposed,” said Bajoria.
In its letter, the BJP lashed out at the state administration, saying it had “miserably failed” to ensure proper law and order and a peaceful environment for free and fair elections. “This is clear from the way large-scale incidents of violence have been reported in the last several days, including the two days of polling. Voters have been attacked, our polling agents stopped from entering the polling stations, our workers have been specifically targeted and brutally assaulted and many such incidences by the Trinamool Congress cadre. We request that such mala fide and continuous efforts to create disorder, intimidate voters, create disharmony among different communities on caste and religious lines, have been several unethical and illegal tactics used by Mamata Banerjee, must be brought to an end. That strong actions must be taken by Commission by barring Mamata Banerjee from conducting, joining or addressing any future political rallies meetings till the conclusion of the Assembly Polls,” read the BJP’s complaint letter.
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