Bengal, March 29: The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) urged the West Bengal chief electoral officer (CEO) not to deploy forces from the states governed by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), news agency ANI reported on Monday, ahead of the second phase of polling for the ongoing assembly elections on April 1.
In the meeting, the TMC Bengal delegation urged the CEO top electoral official to “refrain from deploying armed forces from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and any other BJP/NDA-ruled states during the second phase of elections in East Midnapore and also for other phases to ensure that there is no partisan act in this election by the armed forces”, media reported.
The delegation also requested the official to “immediately round up any and all anti-social elements in East Midnapore and take them in preventive custody to ensure free and fair elections.”
The ruling party’s delegation once again accused BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari of “harbouring criminals who are non-residents of Nandigram at multiple locations of the constituency.” Adhikari, a former TMC leader, will face West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram. The constituency will vote in the second phase, alongside 29 other constituencies. Votes will be counted on May 2.
Banerjee after filing her nomination from the constituency in East Midnapore on March 10 was injured in what she initially described as an ‘attack by four-five men.’
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However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) later said, on the basis of a report by the state chief secretary and special election observers that her injuries were, in fact, due to an accident.
In the run-up to the elections, the TMC had also questioned the poll body for scheduling polls in eight phases in the eastern state, wondering if this was done at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. The BJP has emerged as a strong challenger for the TMC, which was first voted to power in 2011. While Banerjee is looking at a third straight term as the chief minister, the BJP aims to form its first government in the state.
Thirty assembly constituencies went to the polls in the first phase on March 27. The voting will come to an end with the eighth and final phase on April 29. The counting of votes for all the 294 assembly constituencies is scheduled for May 2.