BJP urges EC for more forces in Bhabanipur, accuses Mamata Banerjee of misuse of state machinery

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 15-09-2021 22:29 IST | Created: 15-09-2021 22:29 IST
BJP urges EC for more forces in Bhabanipur, accuses Mamata Banerjee of misuse of state machinery
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The BJP on Wednesday urged the Election Commission (EC) to deploy maximum security forces in Bhabanipur, alleging that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is misusing state machinery to intimidate voters and win the by-polls in the assembly seat.

Banerjee is contesting from Bhabanipur after she lost from the Nandigram constituency in the assembly polls held earlier this year.

The party also urged the EC that TMC leader Firhad Hakim be ''debarred'' from participating in the poll process and removed as Kolkata municipal corporation chairman till the conclusion of the by-elections, alleging that he is trying to incite communal violence in the constituency.

''Since she (Mamata) is anticipating her defeat in the election, she is misusing the state machinery... We met the election commissioner and demanded that strictest action be taken against the misuse of state machinery by her,'' senior BJP leader Arun Singh, who led the BJP delegation to the EC, told reporters after the meeting.

The BJP delegation comprised party leaders Locket Chatterjee, Swapan Dasgupta, Shishir Bajoria, Sanjay Mayukh and Om Pathak.

Singh alleged that Hakim, a close confidant of Banerjee, is trying to incite communal violence with his ''objectionable'' statements and has threatened that the BJP leaders will be beaten up if they visit the constituency.

''We have submitted to the Election Commission video clippings of Firhad Hakim's objectionable remarks... We have demanded that maximum number of security forces should be deployed to ensure a free and fair election at Bhabanipur assembly constituency,'' Singh said.

The BJP leader said several hoardings with Banerjee's picture are still there at various locations despite the model code of conduct being in force.

''We have demanded that all hoardings with photos of Mamata Banerjee should immediately be removed from all government and municipal sites from the KMC area,'' he said.

BJP will ''definitely'' win if free and fair by-polls are conducted at the Bhabanipur assembly constituency, he asserted.

In its memorandum to the EC, the BJP referred to the alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal after the state assembly elections, and claimed there are ''serious apprehensions'' in the minds of common voters that there might be a ''repeat and replay of such violence''.

''Given the fact it is a by-election and a sitting chief minister is contesting, the ruling party (in Bengal) is preparing, as always, to use all unfair means to induce and intimidate the voters,'' the BJP alleged.

''The TMC, its office bearers, ministers and other senior functionaries are now preparing to abuse the state’s physical and financial resources in support of their chief minister candidate Mamata Banerjee,'' the BJP said.

By-poll for the Bhabanipur assembly seat along with polling for two assembly seats, where elections were deferred due to death of candidates earlier this year, will be held on September 30 in West Bengal. Counting of votes will take place on October 3.

In its memorandum to the EC, the BJP delegation said the central armed police force (CAPF) deployment of 15 companies per assembly constituency is ''grossly inadequate'', especially in Bhabanipur.

''Mamata Banerjee is contesting for (her) survival. TMC has deployed their entire strength of hooligans,'' the BJP said, urging the EC to ensure deployment of at least 40 CAPF companies in Bhabanipur and at least 25 companies in each of the other two assembly constituencies.

The BJP also urged the EC to ensure that no state government employee, including teachers, are deployed as polling officers and sector in-charges.

''No contract workers employed by the state government and municipalities should be deployed for poll duty. In the recently conducted polls, despite assurances given by the CEO, contractual people including, drivers, peons are being deployed,'' the BJP added.

The BJP demanded that officers who were shifted out by the EC, either for completing three years in a post or on being found unfit for conducting free and fair polls and had since been reverted back in the area of the three poll-bound constituencies, should be ''immediately'' transferred out of the district of Kolkata.

''To ensure full protection against any possible spread of COVID-19, the presence of the agents of the candidates inside the polling booth should be restricted only for the polling agents of national parties and all others polling agents should be seated outside the booth at the entrance,'' the BJP also urged the EC.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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