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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Finger at forces at strongroom for bias for BJP

In Cooch Behar, Parliament elections were held on April 19. After the polls, EVMs have been kept in strong rooms at the counting centre, that is, at the University BT & Evening College and in Cooch Behar Polytechnic which is next to it

Our Correspondent Cooch Behar Published 23.04.24, 09:43 AM
The University BT & Evening College, where EVMs have been kept in strongrooms, in Cooch Behar on Monday.

The University BT & Evening College, where EVMs have been kept in strongrooms, in Cooch Behar on Monday. Main Uddin Chisti

Trinamool Congress leaders in Cooch Behar have accused central security forces and also a police officer of being biased against their party workers posted at the counting centre and assaulting some other workers on Sunday night.

In Cooch Behar, Parliament elections were held on April 19. After the polls, EVMs have been kept in strong rooms at the counting centre, that is, at the University BT & Evening College and in Cooch Behar Polytechnic which is next to it.

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The strong rooms and the entire area are under CCTV surveillance and the central and the state forces are guarding the premises round the clock.

Avijit Deb Bhowmik, the district Trinamool president, said on Monday that like other political parties, they too, had submitted a list of party workers, who would be posted at the counting centre in shifts, to the administration. It is a practice to ensure that no one tampers with the EVMs.

“Yesterday, around 11pm, two of our workers were coming out of the BT & Evening College while two others went there to replace them. The duo were denied entry and told that they couldn’t go to the room where monitors of the CCTV cameras are kept. When the other workers, who were supposed to leave after their shift, said that they would rather stay back, they were also denied entry,” said Bhowmik.

In counting centres, CCTV monitors are kept together to keep an eye on all the strong rooms which have been sealed by the administration.

According to Bhowmik, some Trinamool workers gathered in front of the counting centre.

“I also went there to speak with the central forces and an officer of the state police. They misbehaved with me and said if there is any ruckus, they could even resort to firing. As we objected to such remarks, they charged our workers with batons. At least 60 TMC workers got injured due to the lathi charge,” he said.

Later, sources said, administrative officials intervened and eventually, TMC’s representatives could enter the counting centre at around 1am.

“On one hand, they are giving preferential treatment to BJP workers at the counting centre. On the other hand, they are humiliating and assaulting our workers. I filed a complaint with the Election Commission and other authorities,” Bhowmik said.

In his complaint, he said there was no Trinamool representative in the room where CCTV monitors are kept from 11pm to 1am.

“We want the CCTV footage of this period to be scanned. There is always an apprehension that EVMs might be tampered with. Steps should be taken against the central force personnel who attacked us without any provocation,” said Bhowmik.

Biraj Bose, a district general secretary of the BJP, said: "Trinamool leaders know well they will lose the Cooch Behar seat again. That is why they are making baseless allegations.”

Officials of the district administration declined comments.

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