New Delhi: The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday flagged instances of violence and intimidation by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state, accusing it of threatening voters, particularly in Hindu villages.
In a complaint lodged with the Election Commission (EC), the BJP also accused Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Basu of “partisan attitude” and demanded his immediate suspension.
The BJP wrote to the poll panel as five seats in the state voted in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday. In the biggest of the seven phases, polling is being conducted for the 116 Lok Sabha seats across 15 states and Union Territories.
The BJP accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party of “intimidating and threatening voters, especially in Hindu villages”.
“While there was a much bigger deployment of CAPF (central armed police forces) for the third phase and 92% booths being covered, the instances of violence and intimidation continues,” the party said in the communication. “Genuine voters have been threatened with dire consequences if they go to vote.”
The BJP listed particular incidents, claiming one such case from Murshidabad was reported to the general observer and police observer. It also alleged that local BJP leader Mantu Roy was “mercilessly beaten with the butt end of a rifle” in the vicinity of polling booths in Balurghat.
The BJP claimed that chief electoral officer Basu has given statements in direct contradiction to the EC’s stand from the day the poll process started.
“While the EC has been taking all possible steps to encourage and build confidence of the people to vote, Shri Basu, on the other hand, always tries to inculcate fear in the minds of the voters by highlighting the inadequacy of central forces and manning by state police,” the complaint said.
The BJP highlighted another instance showcasing the officer’s allegedly partisan attitude.
“On April 22, Basu had made a formal statement that an FIR has been lodged in the name of BJP candidate Babul Supriyo. This was later denied by the CEO,” it said. “But in the meantime, the image of the BJP candidate had been damaged. The BJP protests in the strongest possible terms.”
Union minister Supriyo is the party’s MP from Asansol.
The complaint came even as Banerjee accused the central forces of working for the saffron party, claiming they were camping inside polling booths to ensure votes are cast for the saffron party.
“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,” she said at a rally. “They do not have the right to do such thing. We have informed the EC about our reservations regarding this.”