Workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Friday began a 48-hour protest in Kolkata’s Esplanade against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s request to the Election Commission to declare all polling booths in the state “super sensitive” in the Lok Sabha polls, PTI reported. The Trinamool workers alleged that the saffron party was trying to malign the state.
During its meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in Kolkata on Thursday, a four-member BJP delegation had cited incidents of violence during the panchayat elections in West Bengal last year and the number of seats that went uncontested.
Chandrima Bhattacharya, the Trinamool Congress’s women’s cell chief, claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to win the elections by using the central forces in the state as they “do not have a base in West Bengal”.
“The BJP and its leaders are living in a fool’s paradise,” Bhattacharya said. “They can deploy one paramilitary jawan for every voter and we will still win the elections. The law and order situation is fine in West Bengal.”
She said the attempt to declare the state “critical” is an insult to the people of the state. The party workers held placards against the saffron party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state president Dilip Ghosh said the Trinamool has to decide if it wants to contest the elections or stage a protest. “The TMC should stop this drama,” Ghosh said.
“It is an irony that the Trinamool Congress is now averse to deployment of central forces,” Ghosh said. “Earlier, when it was in Opposition, it used to demand that central forces be deployed everywhere in the state. Now the TMC is opposing it since the party is afraid that its plans to rig the polls might fall flat.”
In January, the BJP had also suggested deploying central forces at every polling booth and demanded that only central observers be appointed at all booths to ensure free and fair polling during the Lok Sabha elections.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23. Polling will be held in West Bengal in each phase.