West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress found itself on the wrong foot when two of its candidates were caught on camera allegedly threatening polling and police officers and “violating secrecy of votes” during the last phase of assembly polls on Thursday.
Taking cognisance of media reports, the Election Commission directed filing of first information reports (FIRs) against both Udayan Guha, contesting from Dinhata, and Rabindranath Ghosh, in the fray from Natabari. Both constituencies are in Cooch Behar district.
In a video telecast by a TV channel, Guha is seen entering a polling booth in his constituency and while talking on his mobile phone, he gets close to the EVM counter as two women cast votes.
Guha, who quit the All India Forward Bloc and joined the Trinamool last year, is seen asking one of the women to move out of the EVM counter and apparently telling the other woman on which symbol to vote.
The Trinamool nominee was also seen threatening a police officer later in the day.
Talking on his mobile, he was heard asking someone to “remove the officer and send someone else in his place, as otherwise there will be trouble”.
On the other hand, Ghosh too was caught on camera verbally intimidating a polling official in one of the booths and also seen threatening a central security forces personnel in his constituency.
Coming to the booth riding a four-wheeler pasted with his party poster, Ghosh was observed threatening and intimidating a poll official for being a “CPI-M tout”.
“You are acting as a CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) tout; you are here to indulge in touting for the CPI-M? I will see to it that you are udner siege,” Ghosh is heard saying and asking the official’s name and where he was employed.
As the official said he was posted at a primary school, Ghosh retorted: “Oh, primary school! that will serve me better.”
He then moved out of the booth and while boarding his car, he was seen threatening a polling agent for being a “CPI-M tout”.
He also accused an official of demolishing a camp of his party’s booth camp and said: “You people are doing mischief.”
Strongly condemning their actions, the opposition demanded the arrest of the two lawmakers.
An Election Commission release said FIR has been registered against Ghosh “for violating the secrecy of vote by entering to voting compartment and threatening the presiding officer”.
Another FIR was filed against Guha “for violating secrecy of vote by entering polling compartment and for obstructing police officials from discharging their duty”.
Earlier Trinamool leader Sonali Guha -- who is the assembly deputy speaker -- was caught on camera while talking over phone to “beat and drive away a CPI-M agent” from a booth in her constituency Satgachhia under South 24 Parganas district.