Children were seen working at a number of polling booths in Jhargram, Lalgarh and surrounding areas where little violence was reported. They manned camps outside polling stations, gave voters slips and served refreshments.
Children mainly worked for Independent tribal candidates in Bokdubi and Burijhor Kankarjhor. In places like Dharampur and Kantapahari, they worked for political parties. In some areas, they were running errands for political workers.
The TMC and BJP blamed each other for using children. “I will look into it. If our candidates have done so, it is wrong. But as far as I know, the BJP is using children since they do not have workers here,” said TMC’s Lalgarh block president Bonobihari Roy.
BJP’s Sukhomoy Satpathi said, “They know people will resist their violence and therefore are using children in their camps. They are trying to rig the polls and also keeping children in their camps, fearing retaliation.”