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BJP fears polling won’t be fair in Bengal in next phases unless EC acts

Kailash Vijayvargiya said the EC should ensure the deployment of central paramilitary forces and installation of close circuit cameras in all booths for the rest of the elections in Bengal.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 14, 2019 20:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Lok Sabha elections 2019,General elections 2019,Election news
BJP national general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya on Sunday reiterated the party’s demand for greater security to ensure peaceful polling.(HT PHOTO)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya on Sunday warned that polling in the next six phases would not be free and fair in Bengal unless Election Commission takes strong measures.

Welcoming 325 Trinamool workers and local leaders who joined BJP in the afternoon, Vijayvargiya said the EC should ensure the deployment of central paramilitary forces and installation of close circuit cameras in all booths for the rest of the elections in the state. Bengal is one of those states which will vote in all seven phases of the general elections.

“We made the same appeal before the first phase of polling in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar on April 11. But central forces were not present in all booths. Goons sent by Trinamool Congress took advantage of that and unleashed terror in some parts,” Vijayvargiya said.

Three Lok Sabha constituencies in north Bengal - Darjeeling, Raigunj and Jalpaiguri - will vote on April 18.

Vijayvargiya said EC should focus on Bengal so that voters can exercise their right without fear. “Almost all political parties have made the same appeal. The EC should take our plea seriously in view of the massive violence during panchayat polls last year,” he said.

Reacting to Vijayvargiya’s statement, state food and supplies minister Jyoti Priya Mallick said, “His allegation proves that BJP has already realised that it will lose in all 42 constituencies in the state. The statement is a reflection of that fear.”

The BJP which won two Lok Sabha seat in 2014 has set itself a target of winning 22 seats in Bengal this time.

On April 12, BJP leader Mukul Roy headed a delegation that met Bengal’s chief electoral officer Aariz Aftab and demanded re-polling in 339 booths. Out of these, 297 are in Cooch Behar.

On Sunday, the BJP again alleged intimidation and attack by works of the Trinamool Congress.

At Bhatar in East Burdwan district, Krishna Kali Samanta, a local BJP leader, was shot at by two motorcycle-borne men on Saturday night when he was standing in his first floor verandah.

“The first bullet missed him but the second one hit him in the arm,” said Union minister of state S S Ahluwalia who is contesting the Burdwan-Durgapur seat. He visited Samanta at Burdwan medical college and hospital on Sunday.

Uttam Sengupta, Trinamool general secretary in East Burdwan district said the allegation was baseless. Police have lodged an FIR.

In another incident, police seized a cache of illegal firearms and arrested two men from Rajarhat in the eastern fringe of Kolkata on Sunday.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 20:28 IST