Updated: April 2, 2021 10:35:03 pm
A day after action-packed polling at battleground Nandigram in Bengal East Midnapore district, the ruling Trinamool Congress and its primary challenger, the BJP, engaged in a full-blown letter war. While the latter wrote to the Election Commission accusing Chief Minister and Trinamool’s Nandigram candidate Mamata Banerjee of violating the model code conduct at Boyal during polling hours, the former hit back with a letter to the poll panel claiming issues with electronic voting machines during the two phases of polling in the state.
The Trinamool also sought to draw the EC’s attention to BJP supporters “unleashing disturbances during poll”.
Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP leader and Union minister who recently joined the Trinamool, said after a meeting with officials of the central poll panel, “We gave the EC a list of EVM glitches that were brought to our notice so that they could be sorted out before the remaining phases of polling.”
A BJP delegation led by Shishir Bajoria also met EC officials, seeking action against Mamata for protesting at a polling booth and inciting her party workers. Accusing the Trinamool of disturbing the polling process, the BJP said it was happy with the role of the central forces.
“Trinamool is trying to put pressure on the EC by making unfounded allegations every day. Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee visited booth number 7 (in Nandigram) while polling was under way and sat there for 2 hours. A candidate can always go to a booth but not when Section 144 is in force,” Bajoria said.
The BJP further alleged that the Trinamool government had failed miserably in ensuring law and order during polling. “This is clear from the way large-scale incidents of violence have been reported over the last several days, including the two days of polling. Voters were attacked, our polling agents were stopped from entering booths and our workers have been specifically targeted and brutally assaulted. There are many more incidents of violence perpetrated by the Trinamool Congress cadre. We request that such mala fide and continuous efforts to create disorder, intimidate voters, create disharmony among different communities on caste and religious lines, which are among several unethical and illegal tactics used by Mamata Banerjee, be brought to an end. Strong action must be taken by the Commission by barring Mamata Banerjee from conducting, joining or addressing any future political rallies and meetings till the conclusion of the Assembly polls,” read the BJP letter.
The Trinamool, too, accused the BJP of unleashing widespread poll violence and the central forces of bowing to the dictates of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in its letter to the EC.
“There has been widespread and rampant violence in the various ACs’ that underwent elections during Phase I and II wherein the electors were threatened, intimidated, terrorised, and beaten up by members and stooges of BJP to prevent them from casting votes in favour of them,” read the letter, adding, “(the) All India Trinamool Congress filed over 300 complaints during Phase I and II of instances of violence which has “forced electors to return without casting votes or compelled them to cast votes in favour of BJP out of fear”.
“The CAPF, under instructions of the home minister, has acted in complete departure from its duty and responsibility to act impartially by being a mute spectator to the continual violence perpetrated by BJP and its goons; (b) perpetrating violence and intimidating electors voting for AITC and inducing voters to vote in favour of BJP,” the letter said.
The Trinamool said it had brought serious accusations of ‘dishonest’” and ‘fraud’ against the central forces ‘to immobilise the democratic setup’.
The Trinamool delegation was led by senior leader Subrata Mukherjee, Yashwant Sinha, Derek O’ Brien Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Dola Sen.
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