The ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday alleged that the Border Security Force was threatening the residents of border areas in West Bengal to cast their votes in favour of a particular political party, reported PTI. The TMC made the allegations during a meeting with the full bench of the Election Commission of India.

‘We have informed the CEC [Chief Election Commissioner] and other ECI [Election Commission of India] officials that the BSF is threatening voters in border areas,” TMC Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee told reporters after the meeting. “We have received inputs that officers of the paramilitary force are visiting various villages and asking people to cast their votes in favour of a particular political party.”

Chatterjee added that it was a dangerous situation and the poll body should look into the matter.

The BSF, however, has refuted the charges, saying that it is an apolitical force, reported ANI. In a statement, it said that the allegations levelled by Chaterjee and state minister Firhad Hakim are without any basis and far from the truth. “BSF stands firmly committed to its motto ‘Duty Unto Death’ at all times,” the force said.

The statement added that the BSF was a professional border guarding force, which works with total sincerity and dedication. “We have actively checked on illegal infiltration and smuggling and brought to the book criminals involved in such activities,” it said.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party Information Technology Cell head Amit Malviya criticised the TMC for making such allegations. He claimed that the ruling party was feeling insecure about the BSF patrolling the Indo-Bangladesh border. “Come elections, TMC after all would need more illegal migrants to vote for them, as residents of West Bengal have made up their minds to vote for BJP,” he said in a tweet.

Officials led by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora are on a two-day visit to the state ahead of the Assembly polls. The dates of the elections are yet to be announced.

The officials, who arrived in Wednesday, are meeting representatives of various political parties before they will hold discussions with central and state regulatory agencies members. Unidentified officials of the state poll panel told PTI that a review meeting with divisional commissioners, district election officers and senior police officers will be held in regards to the state Assembly elections.