NEW DELHI/KOLKATA : The BJP on Wednesday urged the Election Commission (EC) to declare West Bengal a “super sensitive state” to ensure that free and fair elections there, prompting state Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to hit back at the party, accusing it of insulting the people of Bengal.A high-level BJP delegation which included Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and senior leaders Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya, met the EC and demanded deployment of central forces in all polling stations of West Bengal.
“The party has also requested the Election Commission to transfer those police officers whose electoral impartiality is questionable and the withdrawal of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from election duty,” Prasad said after the meeting.
The meeting assumes significance as the saffron party is trying to make inroads in the Trinamool-ruled Bengal — which sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha — and improve its tally from the existing two seats. The delegation also lodged a complaint against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of violating the Model Code of Conduct. “The party requested that action be taken the Congress president for leveling unverified allegations against the PM in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, which was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” Prasad said.
Reacting sharply to BJP’s appeal to the Election Commission to declare all the 42 constituencies in West Bengal as sensitive and appoint an observer to monitor media coverage, Mamata said, “Why is the BJP so scared of TMC and ‘sensitive’ about Bengal? On what basis did they demand that all constituencies of the state be declared sensitive? There is no trouble in Bengal, ours is a peaceful state. Was there any problem during Gangasagar Mela and Durga Puja? The by-elections were peaceful and most of the people who died in panchayat elections were TMC workers.”
“Do they think they can control me with these antics? There is no point showing me muscle power. I am not scared. Whatever BJP says is not the last word of democracy. They have insulted the people of Bengal by raising such demands. People will answer them in the elections,” Mamata thundered.On BJP’s demand for media observer, the TMC chief said, “My moral support is with media...Don’t bow down to this... Why is the BJP trying to control the media?
Kolkata mayor’s warning
Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said TMC will raise the issue of EC’s impartiality if it heeded to BJP’s demand to declare all seats as sensitive. He alleged that the BJP was trying to bring in cadres from neighbouring Jharkhand to foment trouble in West Bengal
No critical constituencies, state poll panel says
The State Election Commission has sent a letter to Election Commission of India stating that there are no ‘critically sensitive’ constituencies in West Bengal, but it can send observers for any constituency it wishes, sources revealed. The SEC sent the letter to the ECI in response to the latter’s query about ‘critically sensitive’ constituencies in the state. However, central paramilitary forces have to send photographs of route march maps to the EC which will be uploaded on its website.