Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday sought to know how a purported phone call between Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Mukul Roy and Shishir Bajoria was leaked. He also claimed that there was nothing secretive about the conversation.
In the alleged phone call, which was released by the Trinamool Congress on Saturday, Roy was heard asking Bajoria to include a demand to the Election Commission that a polling agent in a booth should not necessarily be a resident of that area. The Trinamool Congress alleged that there was a nexus between the poll body and the BJP to influence elections in the state.
While responding to media queries about the call on Sunday, Shah said there was nothing wrong with the conversation as the BJP had made those demands in writing. “No tapping was required for this,” Shah said. “The question is who tapped the phone, and you [the media] don’t raise these questions. This should be made public. Is this the way in a democracy, that you tap the phones of Opposition leaders?”
Senior BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shishir Bajoria had also played an audio clip to the media on Saturday, in which a person, who they claimed was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, could be heard talking to Proloy Pal, a follower of her former aide Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined the BJP ahead of the polls.
In the alleged phone call, Banerjee could be heard requesting Pal to help the TMC in the Nandigram polls. “You are young person and do a lot of work, I know... Please help us out this time,” Banerjee can be heard saying. Pal, however, declined to help.
The TMC has not denied that the person heard in the call is Banerjee. Senior Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee said at a press conference that there was nothing wrong with the chief minister speaking to a former party worker.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Shah claimed that the BJP would win 26 of the 30 seats where voting took place in the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections. “I have full faith that the BJP will form the government in Bengal with more than 200 seats,” he added.
The Union home minister congratulated the Election Commission for the peaceful conduct of the elections. “After many years, voting was completed without any death, bombings or re-voting,” Shah said.
West Bengal recorded an approximate voter turnout of 79.79% on Saturday in the first phase of the Assembly elections on Saturday. The polling followed days of high-decibel campaigning that saw defections, violence and bitter exchanges between the contesting parties.