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Bengal: BJP writes to ECI seeking deployment of female CPF personnel to verify identity of Burkha-clad voters

In a letter to the ECI, the BJP has expressed concerns over the sudden and sharp rise in the number of voters in areas near Bangladesh border. It asserted that a sharp rise in minority community voter numbers has been noticed in several constituencies in border districts.

In a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), the State unit of the BJP has expressed concerns over identity verification and vote fraud by ‘Burkha-clad voters’ ahead of upcoming elections in West Bengal.

“From the draft electoral list that was made public on 18 November, it was noticed that there has been a sharp rise in the numbers of electors, especially in many parts that are very close to the Bangladesh border and those that are predominantly minority voters,” the letter emphasised.

The BJP pointed out that there has been a 10% rise in the number of voters in the ward No. 66 of the Kasba Vidhan Sabha constituency, despite no ‘new township or settlement’. The party alleged that a similar increase in electorates has been observed in Metiabruz constituency and Sonarpur Uttar in South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal.

“Also, we find that dead voters and those who have changed their dwelling place are not struck out from the voter’s list. In the past elections, it has been seen these votes have also been cast,” the letter added.

Need female CPF forces to verify Burkha-clad voters, demands BJP

The BJP pointed out that female voters in Muslim-dominated constituencies, often come to polling stations wearing full Burkha. The party stated that as such, their identity cannot be verified by male CPF jawans, deployed to maintain law an order situation during elections.

While demanding the deployment of female CPF jawans, the BJP emphasised, “In minority (Muslims) areas female voters normally come clad in (a) burqa. It is not possible for the CPF jawans to establish their identity before permitting them entry in the booth. You are requested to ensure that these areas are mapped in advance and an adequate number of female CPF are deployed.”

BJP made several other demands to the ECI

In a letter dated December 17, the party has drawn the attention of the nodal election body to the declaration of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as per the provisions in Section 15 of the Representatives of People Act. The party has also complained about the blatanat politicisation of the police force and the deteriorating state of law and order situation in West Bengal.

The BJP has also highlighted the ‘discrepancies’ in the draft voter list, and the State Employees Federation giving ‘assurance of victory’ to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming polls.

BJP had sought verification of Burkha-clad voters in UP in 2017

Earlier, the BJP has asked the Election Commission to deploy women cops, in order to check the identity of Burqa clad persons, in the last two rounds of the civic polls in UP in 2017. The letter in connection with this demand was sent to the State Election Commission in Lucknow by a BJP delegation which includes BJP state vice-president JPS Rathore and BJP’s election commission communication head Akhilesh Kumar Avasthi.

As per Rathore, such a demand was made to ensure a transparent election process and eliminate false voting. The party had also clarified that verification would only be required in those cases where the party cadre suspects foul play.

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