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'Central forces influenced by Union Home minister'

Central forces influenced by Union Home minister
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Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegation called on state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab on Friday alleging dereliction of duty on the part of Central Paramilitary Forces in certain polling booths by acting under the behest of Union Home minister Amit Shah. The delegation complained of an alleged violation of the right to vote freely, violence by members of the BJP at many places and glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some places during the first two phases of elections, involving 60 Assembly constituencies.

The delegation requested the Election Commission (EC) to immediately check and replace the EVMs assigned to the state and ensure that malfunctioning of machines does not occur in the remaining phases. "We have brought certain issues to the notice of the CEO relating to malfunctioning of EVMs in some places and have also apprised him of the violence, mainly perpetrated by the BJP at some places during the first two phases of elections. However, in spite of such attempts by the saffron party to hinder the free and fair poll process, we are confident that our party chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will win by a huge margin from Nandigram seat and the overall performance of the party will be very good in these two phases," Yashwant Sinha, who led the high-level delegation to the CEO office, said.

Sinha added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah were influencing the poll process by passing instructions from Delhi.

"The Paramilitary Forces, under instructions of the Home minister, have acted in a complete departure from its duty and responsibility to act impartially by (a) being a mute spectator to the continual violence perpetrated by BJP and its goons; (b) perpetrating violence and intimidating electors voting for AITC [All India Trinamool Congress] and (c) inducing voters in favour of BJP," the complaint letter read.

Alleging that the conduct of the Central forces at a number of places had proved that BJP was using them to suit their vested interests and to secure votes against the wishes of the electorates, the TMC asked the EC to ensure that Central force jawans — against whom complaints had been filed during the first two phases — were not deployed for any election-related activity in the remaining six phases of polls. Apart from Sinha, the six-member delegation included senior TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee, MPs Dola Sen and Derek O'Brien among others.

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