BSF threatening voters in border areas: TMC complains to ECI
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) met the full bench of the Election Commission of India on Thursday and alleged that the Border Security Force (BSF) was threatening the villagers living in the bordering areas and telling them to cast their votes in favour of a particular political party.
"We have informed the ECI full bench that we have received reports that the BSF jawans are threatening the villagers residing in the bordering areas of the state. They are intimidating them to vote for a particular party claiming that the District Magistrate will not be able to do anything as the border areas are manned by them," TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said.
Chatterjee also urged the ECI to conduct mock polls with the EVMs and VVPATs till the political parties are convinced.
Chatterjee was accompanied by Hakim, state Panchayats minister Subrata Mukherjee and senior TMC leader Subrata Bakshi. The BSF, however, was prompt to respond. "BSF is a professional Border Guarding Force which has in the past, and also in the present, guarded our international borders with total sincerity and dedication. We have actively checked on illegal infiltration and smuggling and brought to the book criminals involved in such activities. The statements given by Partha Chatterjee, Hon'ble Education Minister and Firhad Hakim, Urban Development Minister of State of West Bengal leveling allegations against BSF are without any basis and far from any truth. BSF stands firmly committed to its motto Duty unto Death at all times," read a press note issued by the central agency.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh urged the ECI to verify the exceptional increase of voters in certain areas and expressed their apprehension that a reasonable number of Rohingas might have been included in the voters' list. Earlier in the day in its meeting with ADG (Law & Order) Gyanwant Singh, who is the nodal officer of the state police, the full bench directed him to execute all the pending non bailable warrants (NBWs) by the end of this month. The police have been able to execute nearly 12,000 of the pending 50,000 NBWs in the last four days but the Commission was not fully satisfied with the role of the police in this matter. Singh also presented a list of trouble mongers and criminals who operate from the jails to the commission.
The full bench in the later half met the DMs and the SPs and asked them to identify the trouble mongers who were responsible for creating disturbance in the last election and put them behind the bars. The Commission also asked them to keep air ambulances and helicopters ready for the remote areas.
The Commission is likely to deploy additional central forces for election management. "The numbers of booths have jumped from 77,247 to 101,733 and so there are indications that this time the Commission might deploy approximately 25 per cent more forces compared to the last Lok Sabha polls,"
an official of the state CEO office said.