The political tussle between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP has heated up in the State of West Bengal, with the latter accusing the ruling dispensation of facilitating a demographic change ahead of Assembly elections. On Monday, BJP IT Cell Head Amit Malviya shared a newspaper cutting, which claimed that there has been a rise of 9% voters in the Muslim-dominated constituency of Metiabruz, referred to as ‘mini Pakistan‘ by Mayor of Kolkata Firhad Hakim, in the space of a year.
He tweeted, “Metiabruz constituency, famously referred to as mini-Pakistan by TMC minister Firhad Hakim, registers over 9% increase in voters in last year alone! Pishi (Mamata Banerjee) has been silently overseeing demographic change of West Bengal just to serve her political interests. Is the EC watching?
According to the news article shared by Amit Malviya, it has been reported that the ‘unusual’ rise in the number of voters has led to an increase in polling booths in the Metiabruz constituency (6) and Topsia area (8) of West Bengal. The stark increase in electorates in a span of just one year has led to renewed skepticism of the current political dispensation.
Metiabruz constituency, famously referred to as mini-Pakistan by TMC minister Firhad Hakim, registers over 9% increase in voters in last year alone!— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) December 21, 2020
Pishi has been silently overseeing demographic change of West Bengal just to serve her political interests.
Is the EC watching? pic.twitter.com/oOkaIxvK1h
CPIM leader Rabin Deb said, “The process of correcting the voter list has been the biggest conspiracy. They are not eliminating the names of those who have already died. The Communist Party wants that the Election Commission verify the death of such individuals directly, on receiving information about the same. If family members of the deceased fail to show proof, then, we need the truth of the case must be verified with the Municipality or panchayat.”
Stark discrepancy in the number of voters
The BJP has alleged that instead of undertaking the verification themselves, the Booth Level Officers (BLOs) have outsourced it to TMC workers and supporters. In the Muslim-dominated Metiabruz constituency, more than 19,500 voters have increased in one year, thereby representing a rise of 9%.
It is important to mention that in the Lok Sabha elections, a total of 2,35, 105 people were eligible to vote in Metiabruz constituency . However, when voter list was published, the number had gone up to 2,52,615. As per the report, the Metiabruz constituency includes ward No. 136-141 of the Kolkata municipality. It has been found that a total of 400, 450 and 900 voters on the list have expired in ward No.s 137, 138 and 141 respectively but their names feature in the voter list.
Similarly, in the Topsia area, the number of voters were 83,509 with a total of 79 booths. However, the number of electorates have risen to 91,393. As such the number of booths had been increased by 8 to 87.
BJP writes to EC, highlights the issue of demographic change
In a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), the State unit of the BJP had expressed concerns over the sudden hike in the number of voters. “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.