The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has sought reelections in the Barrackpore constituency in West Bengal, alleging that its candidate, Arjun Singh was beaten up by "Trinamool Congress (TMC)-sponsored goons" to rig the polls.
“Our candidate in Barrackpore was badly beaten up, our polling agents were denied entry into the polling stations and were thrashed by TMC-sponsored goons. The entire voting process has been rigged by the TMC. It is our demand that in Barrackpore parliamentary constituency, re-election should be done. We will meet the Election Commission today,” Prakash Javadekar, the incumbent union minister of human resources development, belonging to the BJP said.
Singh, until recently, was a TMC strongman in this constituency before he switched allegiance to the BJP to take on Dinesh Trivedi, the incumbent Parliamentarian from Barrackpore on a TMC ticket, to contest this year’s parliamentary elections.
In the early hours of the day, Singh alleged that TMC-sponsored goons were rigging the voting process and its “outsider goons” were intimidating voters. A scuffle ensued between Singh and alleged TMC supporters and Singh claimed to have sustained injuries.
Alleging that the TMC supporters were entering the booths alongwith the voters and were casting the vote on their behalf, Javadekar demanded that CCTVs should be installed in the booths and these should be monitored on a regular basis.
“Violence in West Bengal is not just about one or two seats; the country’s democracy is under threat,” the minister said.
Other sporadic incidents of rigging and intimidation of voters were also seen at six other constituencies in the state – Bongaon, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreerampore, Hooghly, Aramgbagh and Uluberia East.
BJP leader Locket Chatterjee allegedly entered into a scuffle with the TMC at the Hooghly constituency, while a presiding officer at a booth in Tarakeshwar was removed as he was allegedly casting votes on others’ behalf.
The BJP also said it had written to the Election Commission to transfer the current superintendent of police in Barrackpore before the polls but the commission didn’t approve it.
“We now see what the result has been,” Javadekar said adding that Election Commission needs to be more proactive in its operations rather than allot central forces only.
At the end of the day, West Bengal had registered 73.97 per cent of polling across the seven constituencies.