BJP, TMC cross swords over use of security forces in first phase

Cooch Behar/Kolkata, Apr 11 (PTI) The BJP candidate of Coochbehar Lok Sabha seat Nishit Pramanik Thursday held a protest in front of the District Magistrate’s office, demanding a re-poll in all booths where central forces were not deployed, accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of rigging elections in several seats.
The BJP and the TMC Thursday engaged in a war of words with the two parties accusing each other of using state police and central forces to “manipulate” the voting process in Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat, which went to polls Thursday in the first phase.
“We have complained to the EC and the district magistrate that rigging was going on in over several polling stations in different parts of Cooch Behar. But no action was taken. The Trinamool Congress goons rigged the polls in at least 350 polling booths,” Pramanik claimed.
“We want repoll in all the polling stations which were guarded by the state police and not by the central force personnel. I will continue the demonstration unless our demands are heard,” he said.
Polling was held in two north Bengal seats Cooch Behar and Alipurduar in the first phase and around 81 voter turnout was registered.
Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee alleged that the BJP has used the central forces to terrorise the voters.
“We have reports of central forces threatening voters. This is unprecedented. We condemn it and want EC to look into it. Is this the way they want poll to be conducted,” Chatterjee said.
TMC leader and North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh claimed that EVMs malfunctioned in several booths and it could be part of a conspiracy to manipulate votes.
“I have never seen such an election ever in my life. Jut within two hours, so many EVMs have started Malfunctioning. I have been calling the observers and nobody is answering,” Ghosh told PTI.
The TMC and the BJP are the main contenders in the two north Bengal seats, while the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress are fighting to prove their existence.
Left Party constituent Forward Bloc is contesting from Cooch Behar and RSP in Alipurduar.

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