It seems, the Election commission of India has decided to take some action against widespread election malpractices in the West Bengal! According to EC’s special observer Ajay V Nayak., The situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 10 to 15 years ago due to which the voters’ are demanding for the deployment of central forces in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, said
He further states that the people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police which is the primary reason why they are demanding deployment of central forces at all polling booths. Nayak, a 1984-batch IAS officer, who was also the former Bihar chief electoral officer, was recently given the responsibility to oversee the last five phases of polls in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the ruling Trinamool Congress demanded his immediate removal, claiming that Nayak has links to the RSS and the BJP which is why he is acting on their orders.
On Bihar, Nayak said that the situation in the state has improved and now only limited numbers of central forces are required for duty at polling booths.
“This situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 10 to 15 years ago. During that time in Bihar total deployment of central forces at the booths was required. Now it is required in West Bengal as the people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police and are seeking deployment of central forces at all the booths,” PTI quoted Nayak as saying.
Commending the people of Bihar for ushering in a change in the state Nayak questioned why this is not happening in West Bengal.
“In the third phase of polling on April 23, 324 companies of central forces would be deployed to cover more than 92 per cent of the polling booths in five Lok Sabha constituencies,” Nayak said in the presence of state Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab.
Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad parliamentary constituencies will go to the polls on April 23.
In the first phase of polling on April 11, central forces were deployed in 51 per cent of the booths in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar seats and 194 companies covered 80 per cent of the booths in Raiganj, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri in the second phase on April 18.
Earlier, polling officials in Cooch Behar had said that they will boycott the elections if central forces are not deployed at booths. Taking out a protest march the officials had said that they are aware of ground realities in the state and are worried about their lives.
In the first phase of polling multiple reports of booth capturing, smashing of EVMs and intimidation were reported from different constituencies. Similar incidents were also reported in the second phase from Chopra in Darjeeling constituency and also from Islampur in Raiganj constituency. CPI-M MP Mohammed Salim’s convoy was also attacked near Raiganj and bullets were also fired.
After Nayak’s statement went viral in local news channels TMC secretary general Subrata Bakshi wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora demanding the immediate removal of the officer to ensure “free and fair” polls in the state.
In the letter, Bakshi wrote that barring a few incidents the polling was peaceful and added that Nayak is “acting in a partisan manner with pre-conceived notions to destabilise elections in the state and create a fear psychosis among voters.”
Nayak has political and organisational allegiance to the RSS and is connected to BJP leaders, Bakshi said and accused him of acting as per instructions of his political bosses.