KOLKATA: No matter how thirsty you are, don’t touch water or food offered by a rival party’s counting agent or unfamiliar faces sitting next to you.
That was one of a series of instructions given by Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee to her party workers who will be manning the counting centres on Thursday.
The West Bengal Chief Minister directed her party’s counting agents not to be drawn into attention diverting tactics used by rivals during the counting process. She also asked party supporters to keep a close vigil around the strong rooms where the EVMs have been stored.
The CM’s list of do’s and don’ts was conveyed to the Trinamool’s districts’ in-charge and subsequently to the lower rung of party workers on Wednesday.
‘‘Tomorrow will be another humid and sweaty day. We will arrange adequate drinking water bottles for our counting agents,’’ said a Trinamool leader in Kolkata.
Referring to the Mamata’s instruction of not touching water offered by rival counting agents, the leader said, “She fears the BJP can go to any extent, including offering water laced with sedatives.’’
Accusing the Election Commission of working at the BJP’s behest, the Bengal Chief Minister asked the counting agents not to divert their focus even for a moment and leave the counting halls “only after the certificates are handed over to the candidates”.
Trinamool’s local leaders have instructed the party’s foot-soldiers to assemble near the counting centres. They will gather at a place outside the restricted zone identified by the poll panel. “We fear BJP supporters might attack us, if they lose. We have asked our party supporters to retaliate,’’ said a Trinamool leader.
Other parties, too, have issued similar directives to their cadres. CPM’s state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra on Thursday requested party supporters not to get into any “instigation trap” and not to react after the election results either.
“We have witnessed some clashes between the BJP and the Trinamool which turned into communal flare-ups. We request the Election Commission and the state administration to take measures to ensure communal harmony,” Mishra said.
BJP leader Jay Prakash Majumdar said he met the poll panel and demanded adequate deployment of central forces at all counting centres in the state.