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ID checking not your job, EC tells Central forces

Kolkata: Acknowledging TMC's complaint of excesses by a section of the Central forces in some booths across the state during the first two phases of polls, the Election Commission (EC) has issued instructions that no Central force personnel should ask voters to furnish their ID cards or other related documents.

The EC has also directed that Central forces should not enter the polling booths without the consent of the presiding officer. The Commission has also rubbished allegations made by BJP that Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee's presence inside a polling booth at Boyal in Nandigram during the elections on April 1 had resulted in fewer number of votes in that particular booth.

There have been complaints from TMC alleging that voters were harassed by Central forces personnel in some booths while they went to exercise their franchise as they were asked to show their identity documents, including the voter ID card.

"Checking of identity documents of voters is the work of polling personnel and not the Central forces. The Election Commission has clear cut guidelines about this," a senior official in the state CEO office said.

State CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) Ariz Aftab held a meeting with the nodal officer of the Central forces for Bengal A K Singh and ADG (Law and Order) Jagmohan and issued necessary instructions in this regard.

Banerjee, who is contesting from the Nandigram seat, had written a letter to the state CEO alleging excesses on the part of the Central forces from a polling booth during the April 1 election.

According to sources in the Commission, Boyal Mukhtar Primary School where Banerjee spent two hours on the day of the election had a polling percentage of 88 per cent. Interestingly enough, Birulia Paschim Primary School where Banerjee had an accident during her election campaign recorded a polling percentage little above 90 per cent. There are around 2,57,000 voters in Nandigram of which 2,27,000 voters turned out to cast their votes.

According to the available data, 54,000 are Muslim votes and the rest 173000 are that of the Hindus.

Meanwhile, Special Expenditure Observer B Murali Kumar held a video conference with the DEOs of the poll-bound districts and instructed them to have zero tolerance against unaccounted cash and other freebies. Kumar has asked for emphasis on naka checking and flying squads for the seizure of cash.

Kumar expressed satisfaction with the work of the concerned officials as the seizure of unaccounted cash and other articles have been nearly Rs 40 crore till date this year. During the last Assembly polls, such seizure was over Rs 20 crore.

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