BJP leader Joy Banerjee said Sunday that his party has “control over the Election Commission” and that it would ensure there were enough central forces to oversee the poll process in West Bengal next year. He said if the BJP won the Bihar polls, they would “run a bulldozer in Bengal” in the next elections.
Addressing a rally at Mayureshwar in Birbhum, the actor-turned-politician said, “In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, there was rampant rigging by the TMC. In the Assembly elections next year, things will be different. We have control over the Election Commission now and there will be military assistance.”
“Please pray that we win in the Bihar elections. If we win, we will run bulldozer over Bengal. The central leadership has assured us,” he said.
He later told The Indian Express: “I made that statement because I got swayed by emotions. I said so because I had seen rigging in Birbhum villages in the 2014 polls. Although we were promised police security, not a single personnel came forward to stop booth capturing by TMC.”
The BJP distanced itself from his remarks. BJP secretary in charge of Bengal Sidharathnath Singh said: “Election Commission under any party’s control is against democracy. The BJP respects EC’s autonomy and its resolve in strengthening India’s democracy.” In a statement, the state BJP said: “Whatever he stated is entirely his personal opinion which the party does not support. Our state president Rahul Sinha cautioned him and he regretted his comments.”
State Election Commissioner S R Upadhyaya said, “I have not heard his statement, so I am not in a position to comment now.”
[INPUTS FROM ENS, NEW DELHI]