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No attempt made to incite electorates against CAPF: Mamata to EC

No attempt made to incite electorates against CAPF: Mamata to EC
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Kolkata: Replying to the Election Commission's (EC) notice against her remarks on Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee has clearly stated that she had not violated the model code of conduct (MCC) and there was "...no attempt to incite the electorates against the CAPF."

The EC had sent a notice to Banerjee on April 8, for a reply within 48 hours, calling her statements against the Central forces to be "false and provocative". She had raised allegation against the CAPF of terrorising voters following instructions of the BJP.

Quoting the speech for which EC had sent the notice, Banerjee in her reply has stated that "In my speech, I had only called upon the voters, specifically voters who are women, to protest (democratically by gherao) if and when somebody (including CAPF) created any obstruction in their right to vote. Gherao is one of the democratic ways of registering public protest and accepted and there is no reason why gherao should be considered as illegal."

She has further stated in her letter that "the multi-dimensional word "gherao" has been a legitimate entry in the political lexicon of West Bengal since late 1960s, and in recent years, more frequently than not, the word has been used to connote peaceful satyagraha against authorities by silent victims of a situation. I have only emphasised that voters should exercise their franchise in a free and fair manner and that intimidation of the electorate, by any external force whatsoever (including CAPF), will not be tolerated. I emphatically suggested that the gherao shall be by way of verbal engagement and not a literal gherao ("you don't have to gherao them literally").

She also stated: "The above clearly evidences that there has been no attempt to threaten, incite or influence the electorate against the CAPF and any allegation to the contrary is unfolded and thus denied. My intentions have all along been to uphold the sanctity of democracy and the spirit of the Constitution of India. It is clear that I have not violated either the MCC or the Indian penal Code 1860 in any manner..."

She has also stated that she was shocked knowing about the alleged molestation by an unidentified CRPF personnel at Tarakeswar and her party had lodged six, 18 and 134 complaints of CAPF's alleged excesses during the first, second and third phase polls to the EC.

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