'Unfortunate': CEC Sunil Arora on TMC allegation that BSF is 'coercing' voters
A day after Trinamool Congress (TMC) members alleged that the Border Security Force (BSF) is forcing people to vote for one party, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said concerns of political parties in West Bengal about the law and order situation in the state during electioneering for the upcoming polls will be addressed by ensuring optimal deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
"We had an in-depth interaction with political parties. Most had concerns about the law and order situation. They spoke of high voltage electioneering which could precipitate into political violence and threaten to vitiate the electoral process," he said. "The political parties wanted optimal deployment of CAPFs. Some political parties also cited anomalies in the electoral rolls," he added.
After consultations with the Chief Secretary, DGP and Home Secretary of West Bengal, the Election Commission of India (ECI) also decided that there will be no civic police and green police volunteers near any polling station.
Terming TMC's allegations 'unfortunate', the CEC said the BSF was one of the finest forces. "It is unfortunate that a party made averments about the BSF. I have asked for concrete instances. They (BSF) are one of the finest forces in the country. There is no point in castigating any force, ad nauseam," he said.
The full bench of the ECI is in West Bengal to take stock of the preparedness, and law and order situation in the poll-bound eastern state. On Thursday, the officials held a meeting with various political parties, during which TMC leaders alleged that the BSF was intimidating people in border areas of West Bengal to cast their votes in favour of a 'particular political party'.
Meanwhile, Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh urged the ECI to deploy Central Forces in the state at the earliest claiming there is a 'sense of fear' among people ahead of elections.
Legislative Assembly elections for 294 seats of the state are scheduled to be held in the next few months.
(with agency inputs)
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