West Bengal has been the hotbed for political violence during the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Several incidents have been reported from various constituencies in West Bengal in the four phases of the Lok Sabha elections. Keeping this in view, the Election Commission, as a preventive measure, has decided to deploy 100 per cent cover by central forces in all the polling booths in the fifth phase of polls.
The decision was taken at a meeting between State Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey, Special Observer Ajay Nayak and Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab. Furthering that the state police will not be allowed within 100 metres of the booths, the EC decided that a total of 578 companies of central forces would be deployed for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections to be held on 6th May in West Bengal.
Bengal 5th phase to get 100% cover by central forces: A total of 578 companies of central forces are being deployed for the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections to be held on 6th May in West Bengal.@Tamal0401 with details. | #May23WithTimesNow pic.twitter.com/fgpptDJjZc
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) May 1, 2019
During the first phase, the EC had deputed central forces at 50 per cent of the booths, which was increased to 92 per cent in the third phase of polling held on April 23. The fourth phase on April 29 saw a deployment of over 200 companies more as compared to the number in the third phase.
The decision comes a day after a BJP delegation led by Kailash Vijayvargiya and Babul Supriyo has approached the Election Commission to register their complaint against the violence allegedly unleashed by the TMC goons in West Bengal during the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP delegation in its complaint against the TMC has asserted that several booths were captured by its workers and violence was perpetrated against Babul Supriyo and stones pelted on his car.
BJP MP and Asansol candidate Babul Supriyo had visited a polling booth in Asansol constituency after villagers had threatened to boycott polls following the non-deployment of central forces in some polling booths.
Clashes took place between TMC workers and BJP workers over a disagreement on the deployment of Central forces to man the booths. In the ensuing scuffle, Babul Supriyo’s car was vandalised by the TMC goons.
Places like Birbhum and Asansol in West Bengal which went into polling during the fourth phase of elections reported rampant rigging with TMC leaders accompanying voters in the voting booth. Moreover, there were reports of massive violence from Asansol. Crude bombs have been found at a polling booth in Krishnanagar, West Bengal and also bombs have been recovered from a polling booth in Santipur, Nadia district. Also, Central forces, journalists, villagers along with a Union Minister were reportedly attacked in Dubrajpur district.
The fourth phases of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal were mired in controversy just as the first three phases of elections. Threats, intimidations, bomb attacks, proxy voting have also been recorded in some of the Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.
Similarly, TMC workers had clashed with BJP workers inside a polling booth in Chopra, Darjeeling and broken an EVM machine during the second phase of elections that concluded on April 18th.
Incidentally, the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls was no different for West Bengal, Where elections are often greeted with violent skirmishes and clashes between competing parties. Violence and rampant polling malpractice were reported from Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, that had gone to polls in the first phase of the elections.
Moreover, there have been multitudes of reports of TMC goons perpetrating violence against their political adversaries in the past. However, these are only a few of the many incidents of violence and hooliganism which West Bengal has been a witness to in so many years of Mamata’s governance. With Mamata Banerjee at the helm of affairs in West Bengal, TMC goons under her protection, are empowered to carry out their depraved activities with impunity.