Days after housing minister Goutam Deb charged the Trinamool Congress with funding poll campaign with black money; allegations of buying votes hit the Marxist camp in Birbhum.
Trinamool supporters in Charicha village near Sainthia gheraoed CPI(M) MP of Bolpur Ram Chandra Dom for four hours alleging he was giving money to villagers. Police and poll observers rescued the MP.
According to sources, Dom reached Charicha village with party workers and started distributing cash. Showing a R500 note, villager Khurshed Minya said, "Dom came to my house gave money and told me to vote for Dhiren Bagdi, CPI(M) candidate from Sainthia." Villagers alleged that Dom was moving around with a black bag from where he was distributing cash.
Dom was surrounded after he entered the house of a local CPI(M) supporter Ramlal Rajowar. "The MP was distributing cash from Rajowar's house. The Leftists have forgotten that money cannot buy votes," said Trinamool block secretary Tapas Singha. Not surprisingly, Dom claimed his innocence. "I have never offered money for votes. My party does not believe in money politics," he said.
The police, however, tried to defuse the crisis by taking down a complaint against the MP. The cops also lathicharged villagers who refused to disperse. "We raided Rajowar's house but nothing was found," said a senior police officer in the district.
Trinamool district president Anubrata Mondal said, "There was information that Dom was distributing cash and our supporters caught him. The Marxists have forgotten that people of Bengal have already decided to throw them out and will not be swayed by money."
The poll observer for Sainthia, Vimla Nand Jha said, "I'm not supposed to inform the press. Whatever I have to say, I'll inform the Election Commission."
Trinamool has demanded the arrest of Dom. Leader of the opposition Partha Chatterjee said, "Dom was caught bribing voters. He is not a voter in Sainthia."
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Thursday demanded that the Election Commission (EC) adopt the Tamil Nadu model to check infusion of black money during polls.
"In Tamil Nadu, more than R100 crore of black money that was supposedly brought in to meet-election related expenditure was seized. The Election Commission should set up checkposts at the borders to stop entry of black money. After all, money does not have any boundaries," Karat said at a news conference on Thursday.