Updated: April 25, 2021 5:43:47 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that three special observers of the Election Commission (EC) were ordering police officers to detain Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers during polling hours, and added that after the elections she would approach the Supreme Court against the poll panel.
In an address to party workers at Gitanjali auditorium in Birbhum district’s Bolpur city, Banerjee said she would not be silenced and displayed transcripts of purported WhatsApp chats between the EC officials and district administrators.
“These officials are giving orders to detain our men on the night before the polls and keep them in custody till 4 pm. This WhatsApp conversation has been given to me by people in BJP,” Banerjee claimed.
The chief minister objected to the observers allegedly describing TMC leaders as goons in the purported chats.
“They are saying that TMC goons are not allowing BJP workers to vote. They are basically working for the BJP. We will go to Supreme Court against this and appeal for neutral conduct of elections. These observers are describing Trinamool workers as trouble makers. I have got copies of the messages exchanged between them and the officers. Some of our DMs and SPs are exceeding limits to keep them happy, following their orders. Are they BJP’s mynah? I won’t say anything now. After the polls, I will take this up.”
Banerjee appealed to voters yet to exercise their franchise to remain alert. “Take precautions. On one hand, we have the war against Covid; on the other, we have to fight against the Election Commission that is conspiring to ensure that our people can’t vote.”
Banerjee said she would move the top court against the “conspiracy and partisan approach” of the EC, and added, “However, these three retired people won’t be able to influence the elections. Their partisan conduct will help BJP win only seven-eight seats. I personally
don’t believe BJP will cross the 70-mark.”
The TMC chief told voters, “If the police detain anyone illegally, their family members should go to the police station and sit there, gherao the police station and ask why illegal detention has been done. If needed, go to the courts. We will move everywhere from the High Court to the Supreme Court. File FIR as soon as someone is detained illegally.”
Accusing the EC of causing the surge in Covid-19 cases, Banerjee alleged, “The Election Commission is responsible for increasing Covid cases in West Bengal. They held election in eight phases as advised by a few BJP leaders, which increased Covid infections in the state. Two lakh central forces came to the state apart from numerous outsiders belonging to the BJP. No one was tested for Covid.”
The chief minister claimed that way back in January the Centre was aware that the pandemic would worsen but did not take any steps.
“The PM and Union home minister should resign. The EC could have held the polls in three phases. It was stretched to help the BJP win Bengal. One party’s lust for power has landed us in this situation. Why didn’t the EC listen to us? Why did the elections have to be stretched to eight phases when it was clear that Covid is spreading?” she asked.
Banerjee questioned the Centre’s decision to announce multiple prices for Covid vaccines. “Why can’t the Centre give free vaccines to every citizen? Why separate prices? What is going on? They have destroyed the country. Total negligence. A monumentally incompetent government.”
With PTI inputs
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