Day after the Phase 2 of West Bengal assembly election concluded, a Trinamool Congress delegation met Election Commission officials on Friday to lodge a complaint against central police forces for allegedly being partial in favour of the BJP at certain booths. They also requested the EC to address the EVM issues and the alleged violence by BJP workers.
The high-level delegation was led by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and state minister Subrata Mukherjee, and comprised Rajya Sabha MPs Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab, Sinha alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are influencing the poll process by passing on instruction from Delhi. “This has to stop,” he said.
He said that the delegation has informed the election body about the “partial” role of the central forces in many booths in the first two phases. Stating that several TMC supporters were attacked by BJP, it also requested the EC to see to it that such incidents don’t repeat in the next six phases, said Sinha, who had recently joined Mamata Banerjee’s party.
Banerjee, the West Bengal Chief Minister, too had on Thursday accused the central forces deployed in her Nandigram constituency of helping the saffron party. Central police forces function under the Union home ministry, which is headed by Amit Shah. In Nandigram, the chief minister is locked in battle with her former lieutenant, Suvendu Adhikari now with BJP.
During polling in the constituency on Thursday, Banerjee camped at a booth in Nandigram’s Boyal for several hours over allegations that voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise. A face-off ensued between BJP and TMC supporters outside the booth after which the central forces and the police had to rescue to chief minister. The observers, however, in their report to the EC said voting was not disrupted.
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Sinha, a former finance and external affairs minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, said the TMC also flagged the issue of malfunctioning of EVMs during their interaction with the EC. He also predicted a “landslide victory by the Trinamool Congress despite provocations and interference by the BJP (in the polling process).”
Mukherjee, TMC vice president, added, “I have seen elections for the last 50 years. (But) I have never witnessed such blatant interference in the election process by the government in Delhi before.”
Adhikari brother smells communal tension
Meanwhile, estranged TMC Lok Sabha MP Dibyendu Adhikari on Friday wrote to the Purba Medinipur district magistrate and district electoral officer, expressing apprehension about outbreak of communal tension in Nandigram constituency. Dibyendu is the brother of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari and son of MP Sisir Adhikari, who recently joined the saffron party.
Dibyendu, who had been maintaining distance from TMC, in his letter, expressed concern that although the polls were held in an overall peaceful climate on Thursday, there is a fear that communal tension might surface in the area. He urged the authorities concerned to take preventive measures to maintain peace in the region after the poll.
(With inputs from agencies)