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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Row over TMC leader's voter list remarks: BJP urges EC to conduct independent inquiry

A video purporting to show Trinamul Barasat organising district chairperson Ratna Biswas asking party workers to enrol Bangladeshi nationals in the voters’ list had gone viral on Friday and triggered a controversy

Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 26.11.23, 06:22 AM
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The Bengal BJP leadership has urged the Election Commission of India to conduct an independent inquiry into Trinamul leader Ratna Biswas’s alleged call for enrollment of Bangladeshis in the voters’ list.

A video purporting to show Trinamul Barasat organising district chairperson Ratna Biswas asking party workers to enrol Bangladeshi nationals in the voters’ list had gone viral on Friday and triggered a controversy, prompting Bengal Opposition parties to term it as an attempt to facilitate electoral photo identity cards for infiltrators living illegally in India.

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Biswas was not available for comment. Although The Telegraph could not ascertain the authenticity of the video, Trinamul leader Zakir Hussain, the president of Habra-1 panchayat samiti who was present at the meeting on Thursday, had said the comments had indeed been made.

The BJP leadership on Saturday submitted a written complaint before the ECI’s chief electoral officer in Bengal against Biswas along with a transcript of her purported speech with the request to conduct the inquiry without depending on the district administration.

The BJP has advised the CEO to take up the case as a sample for “study”, along with many other instances of alleged electoral malpractices that the party had raised with the panel in the past.

The BJP alleged that despite highlighting instances of malpractices by the Trinamul Congress in preparation of electoral rolls with booth-level officers, no action had been taken in the past. The effort
of the ruling party to “subvert” provisions of laws goes on unabated”, but is also “getting emboldened”, the BJP alleged.

The party has planned that if the EC does not respond to the appeal, it will take legal steps. “We will wait and watch for a few days. In case the EC does not take action, we will lodge an FIR,” BJP state executive member Pratap Banerjee said.

“The ECI usually engages state government officials at the district level. So a probe by using the state government officials, like DM or SP, is not acceptable to us as the ruling party controls them. We need an independent probe by the EC,” Banerjee added.

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