BJP says TMC resorted to violence, seeks re-poll in several booths

West Bengal, Election Violence
The BJP asked the Election Commission to retain Central forces in West Bengal. Photo: PTI File

The BJP on Sunday accused the TMC of resorting to widespread violence in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. The party demanded re-polling in several booths in eight out of the nine constituencies. Over 72 per cent of voters of the over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 5 pm in the nine constituencies of West Bengal during the seventh and final phase of polling.

“In Diamond Harbour, Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Jadavpur, Basirhat, Mathurapur and Joynagar, there was rampant violence. The goons of the TMC didn’t allow elections in most of the booths. We would seek re-poll in several booths,” senior BJP leader Mukul Roy said. “The TMC is afraid of defeat, that is why it is resorting to violence,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.

BJP leader Piyush Goyal said: “We have informed the EC about the violence and attack on our candidates and workers in various constituencies in the seventh phase. We have urged them to announce re-polls in these constituencies. Also, the false cases filed against our candidates and election agents, especially in West Bengal, must be withdrawn.”

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He said the EC must also probe the threats received by our candidates, office-bearers, and agents. “There are chances of political violence in Bengal even after the results are announced. We have urged the EC to deploy central forces at the EVM strongrooms and make them stay in Bengal until the model code of conduct is lifted. Also, to ensure free and fair counting, we have urged the EC to deploy special observers besides poll and police observers in large numbers in the five states – Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Also, security cameras must be used to monitor the counting centres in these five states.”

Trinamool’s charge

On Trinamool Congress’s allegations that central forces were ‘brutally torturing’ and ‘intimidating’ voters in West Bengal, and acting on the direction of BJP leaders, the saffron party said TMC leaders had ‘lost their mental balance.’ “Sensing defeat, the TMC leaders have lost their mind. The central forces are here to conduct free and fair polls. Why were goons of the TMC stopping people from casting their vote, if it is so confident of victory?” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. The BJP leadership in Delhi earlier in the day urged the Election Commission to continue with the presence of central armed police forces in West Bengal till the model code of conduct period ends, as it expressed concern that the TMC may target a section of voters after polling is over.

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in the national capital that elections in six of the nine seats, which went to polls on Sunday, were marred by violence. Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra accused both the TMC and the BJP of indulging in violence. “The impartial role of EC is questionable. We would seek re-poll in several booths. The TMC and the BJP have indulged in violence and malpractices during the polls,” Mishra said in a statement. West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra also alleged rigging in several booths of the nine constituencies.

Also read: Exit polls give confusing signals to voters in UP

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