West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed the central forces for allegedly firing "inside" a polling booth in Birbhum district and accused the BJP of misusing the forces in the elections.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed the central forces for allegedly firing “inside” a polling booth in Birbhum district and accused the BJP of misusing the forces in the elections. Stating that the law and order is a state subject, she said it is not the job of the central forces to enter polling booths and they should keep vigil outside. In Dubrajpur area of Birbhum constituency, voters allegedly engaged in a scuffle with the central forces when they were barred from entering booths with mobile phones, a senior election official said. Security personnel reportedly fire in the air to control the mob, following which polling was stalled in the booths, the official said.
“I have heard that the CRPF fired inside a booth in Dubrajpur. I am yet to get the detailed report. CRPF personnel can be deputed outside booths, but they do not have the right to lathicharge or fire,” Banerjee, also the TMC supremo, said. She alleged that the firing was a ploy to rig the polls by the BJP with the help of central forces.
“Law and order is a state subject and not a central subject. Even if the central forces have to conduct a route march, they are required to do it along with the state police,” the TMC chief said while speaking at rallies in Bagdhah and Swaroop Nagar in North 24 Parganas district. Banerjee accused the BJP of misusing the law and bringing in central forces without depending on the state police and using them in garnering votes for themselves.
“We know the law. I have heard that complaints were made (before the EC) that the central force personnel have gone inside booths and asked people to vote for the BJP. This will not help the BJP,” she said. “The BJP do not trust the Bengal police. The police are on security duty during the Durga Puja, during Diwali. They protect us from thieves and dacoits. And during elections, you need policemen from Delhi,” Banerjee said. Asking the BJP to trust the people, she said police will not vote for its candidates but the people will. Violence was reported from several parts of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies where polling is going on Monday.
Clashes have broken out between the supporters of rival parties in Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati and Siuri areas of Birbhum seat, injuring several people. The Election Commission has deployed central forces at around 98.8 per cent of the booths in the eight seats –Baharampur, Krishnagar, Ranaghat (SC), Burdwan East (SC), Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur (SC) and Birbhum. Addressing the rallies, Banerjee called upon the people to vote against the BJP and dethrone Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power.
“He (Modi) is adept at lying constantly,” Banerjee said adding “Whenever he comes to Bengal, he provokes his supporters to disrupt peace in the state in order to yield political dividend,” she alleged. The BJP brigade is distributing money to purchase voters and resorting to divisive politics which is in contrary to the state’s culture, Banerjee claimed. The TMC chief expressed confidence that her party will win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state and play a pivotal role in forming the next government at the Centre.