Ahead of elections, TMC says BSF being misused
Kolkata The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India alleging that the Border Security Force was threatening people living in areas in the state bordering Bangladesh, asking them to vote for a particular political party. While the party did not name the Bharatiya Janata Party, it implied that it was referring to the national party which has emerged its main rival in the state.
The BJP, meanwhile has alleged that at least 400,000- 500,000 Rohingyas, who illegally entered the country through the Indo-Bangla border, have been included in the voters’ list and urged the poll panel to order a special audit of the electoral roll.
Elections in the state are likely in the first half of the year.
“BSF personnel are going to border villages and threatening villagers to vote for a particular political party. Villagers are being told that the state administration won’t be able to help them and that they would be left at the mercy of BSF. We have taken up the matter with the ECI,” said Partha Chatterjee, TMC general secretary and state education minister, after meeting the Chief Election Commissioner.
BSF, however, has refuted the charges saying that the allegations were baseless and far from truth
“ BSF is a professional border guarding force. We have actively checked on illegal infiltration and smuggling and criminals involved in such activities have been brought to book. The statements made by Chatterjee, are without any basis and far from truth,” said a statement issued by the force.
Representatives of both parties met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the two election commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar on Thursday. The full bench of the ECI is in West Bengal on a two-day visit to take stock of the election preparedness and law and order situation in the poll-bound state.
“Border areas are very sensitive. We have urged ECI to cross-check the voters’ list in some areas where there has been an alarming increase in number of electors,” said Dilip Ghosh, BJP president in West Bengal , claiming that at least 400,000- 500,000 lakh Rohingyas have been included in the list.
The BJP in its letter to ECI alleged that at least five border districts – Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, and South 24 Parganas – have registered high population growth in the last four years. Three of these – Malda Murshidabad and Uttar Dinajpur have a Muslim majority, according to the 2011 census. HT could not independently ascertain whether this is the case.
The BJP team has also demanded that central forces be deployed at least 15 days before the polls. Buoyed by its impressive gains in the 2019 Lok Sabha pols where the party won 18 of the 42 seats in the state, the BJP has set a target of winning more than 200 seats in the 294-seated legislative assembly.
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- Elections have already been announced in West Bengal and will be held in eight phases starting from March 27.
- Gadkari, who was addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Joypur, also said the elections will decide the future of West Bengal.
- The TMC has been sharpening its attack on the BJP and has been trying to brand it as an outsider in Bengal ahead of the assembly election.
- Serious differences have appeared in the Congress over having an electoral alliance with the ISF. The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and its adversary, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have also accused the Congress and the Left parties of playing communal politics by having the cleric as an ally.