BJP alleges rigging by TMC in Cooch Behar, demands repoll

Polling was held in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar seats in north Bengal in the first phase on Thursday and around 81 per cent of 34.52 lakh voters exercised their franchise.

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The BJP leadership Friday demanded repoll at several booths in Cooch Bebar Lok Sabha seat alleging that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC)
indulged in malpractices during polling there Thursday. The saffron party also claimed that the TMC rigged those booths where state police personnel were on guard and the Election Commission failed to provide adequate security to the voters.

Polling was held in Cooch Bebar and Alipurduar seats in north Bengal in the first phase on Thursday and around 81 per cent of 34.52 lakh voters exercised their franchise. “There should be repoll in Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat. Several booths were rigged by the TMC as the security in these booths were provided by the state police. We wanted central forces to provide security cover,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.

The BJP candidate of Cooch Behar seat Nishit Pramanik Thursday night held a protest in front of the district magistrate’s office, demanding re-poll in all booths where central force were not deployed. He claimed that at least 350 polling stations were rigged by the TMC. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy Friday visited the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in Kolkata and demanded repoll.

Echoing the views of Ghosh, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee does not respect democratic norms and should stop talking about democracy in the country. Vijayvargiya said, “If she is so confident of victory, why isn’t she not allowing free and fair polls? Why is the TMC trying to rig the elections?” Ghosh had a word of caution for police officers who are allegedly working at the behest of the ruling party.

If they do not stop acting in an unbiased manner, they would have to face the music, he said.

“We would complain to the Election Commission and ensure that these officers are removed,” Ghosh said. The BJP and the TMC on Thursday had accused each other of using state police and central forces to “manipulate” the voting in Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat. “We want repoll in all the polling stations which were guarded by the state police and not by the central force personnel,” Pramanik had said.

On the other hand, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said. “We have reports of central forces threatening voters. This is unprecedented. We condemn it and want the EC to look into it,”

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