Trinamul ire at central force
The last leg of the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal turned into a “contest” between Trinamul and central forces with face-offs between party leaders and the men in uniform reported from various areas.
By evening, chief minister Mamata Banerjee levelled direct allegations at the forces. “The manner in which the BJP supporters and the central forces tortured, I have never seen anything like this. This is unprecedented… Though it is not a day to campaign, I have to say this,” Mamata said after casting her vote.
Barasat Trinamul candidate Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar alleged that the central forces were encouraging BJP workers to capture booths. “I have information that they (central forces) were influencing people to vote for the BJP while BJP workers were being encouraged to capture booths,” Ghosh Dastidar said.
She later demonstrated in front of New Town police station.
Sources said the central forces had removed a Trinamul camp and allegedly driven away party workers preparing a meal for the supporters in New Town, part of Barasat constituency. “On being asked, they (the workers) had said it was a family function but when they could not produce any evidence, the forces removed the camp,” said a source in the Election Commission.
In Kamarhati, Trinamul councillor Bimal Saha claimed central force jawans had vandalised a party camp office. “We were sitting with water and sweets to serve elderly voters because of the excessive heat. Central force jawans arrived and resorted to batoncharge,” said Ruby Karmakar, a Trinamul volunteer.
Later, Kamarhati municipality chairman Gopal Saha arrived, threatened protests and accused “the BJP of using central forces to influence voters”.
Mala Roy, Trinamul’s Calcutta South candidate, alleged she was prevented from entering a booth by central force jawans.
The sources in the Election Commission said the central forces “intervened whenever a rule was violated”. The sources said special central police observer Vivek Dubey had told commandants of the forces to ensure peaceful voting.