Arambagh/Khanakul: Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee Tuesday alleged that the central forces were working for the BJP in West Bengal by illegally sitting inside the booths and asking voters to cast vote in favour of the saffron party. She claimed that the voting process was dragged for three months to help the BJP. Banerjee said she got information that central forces were asking voters in Maldaha Dakshin and Balurghat constituencies, where polling took place Tuesday, to cast their votes for the saffron party.
Banerjee said the Election Commission has been apprised of the matter. “I have got information that the central forces are sitting inside booths in Englishbazar in Maldaha Dakshin and asking voters to vote for the BJP. They do not have the right to do such thing. We have informed the Election Commission about this,” she said.
Banerjee further alleged that the central forces were sitting inside booths no 166 and 167 in Maldah South controlling the polling there and asking voters to vote for the BJP. “Why are they (central forces) doing it? They cannot enter a polling booth. It is not their duty… Without the permission of the presiding officer,” she added alleging that central forces deployed in a booth in Itahar were asking voters standing in the queque to vote for the BJP.
The West Bengal Chief Minister urged the forces not to follow any directives from the leaders of the saffron party as there was no hope for the Narendra Modi government to make a comeback.
“Please do the job of a police. Do not listen to the BJP and do the job for the common people…You are our friend.
Tomorrow when our government will be at the Centre then you will have to work with us… Modi will no longer be there,” he said addressing an election rally.
Banerjee hit out at BJP President Amit Shah, who at a rally in the state on Monday had claimed that the Commission’s neutrality was a severe blow to Mamata Banerjee’s “poll rigging”. She said that the saffron party which had been practising rigging for long had done the same in the Tripura elections last year.
“Mamata is not scared of rigging but you are scared of it. What have you done in Tripura? I can challenge you and say that there was no polling in Tripura but it was a total rigging there,” she said. Banerjee said that the central forces could come to a state during the elections but they should work with the assistance of the state force and then leave.
Criticising the BJP for allegedly using the central forces in its favour, she said, “You cannot use the central forces. You did the same thing during the 2016 (assembly) elections in West Bengal. I have not forgotten it.” The TMC supremo asked whether the BJP asked for the central forces during elections in states where the saffron party is in power.
“How many officers have you transferred in Gujarat? You have governments in Uttar Pradesh, in Bihar also in Assam… Tell me how many companies of central forces have you asked for during the elections there. How many transfered or changed? I want an answer,” she asked.
The Election Commission has so far transferred nearly 12 police officers in West Bengal, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and replaced him by Dr Rajesh Kumar.
“They (BJP leaders) do not trust the people of West Bengal, the state police officers. And now some of traitors from our party have joined them and started demanding for the Central forces,” she said. They have destroyed institutions like the Reserve Bank of India, the CBI among others, she alleged.
West Bengal will teach the BJP an apt lesson, she claimed.
Buoyed by good performance in the last year’s rural election and a few bypolls, the BJP is going all out against TMC to increase its tally in Bengal significantly. The state has a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats next only to Uttar Pradesh’s 80 and Maharashtra’s 48.
Central forces have been deployed at over 92 per cent of the booths in the third phase of the polling in five Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal on Tuesday. Later addressing a rally in Khanakul in Hooghly district, she questioned the timing of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, and claimed that the voting process was dragged for three months at the behest of the BJP.
Banerjee said that polls have never been held for such a long period of time in the history of the country.
“It’s our bad luck that Lok Sabha elections are being held in peak summer. It’s so hot now. People have to cast their votes battling the heat.
“Last year, we (West Bengal government) had finished the panchayat elections by March (last year). But they (the BJP) dragged the general election till May,” she said.
The general election was planned in a manner to suit the BJP leaders, she claimed.
“Polls are being held in seven phases. It has been planned in such a way that the BJP leaders can move from one state to another for campaigning,” she added.