Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], January 22 (ANI): Referring to Trinamool Congress' (TMC) allegation that the Border Security Force (BSF) is coercing voters to favour one party, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday said the remark is 'unfortunate'.
Briefing the media, Arora said, "It is unfortunate that a party made averments about the BSF. I have asked for concrete instances. They are (BSF) one of the finest forces in the country. There is no point in castigating any force, ad nauseam.""We had an in-depth interaction with political parties. Most had concerns about law and order situation. They spoke of high voltage electioneering which could precipitate into political violence and threaten to vitiate the electoral process," he added.
CEC's comments came a day after the delegations of various political parties in West Bengal met the top Commission of India (ECI) officials regarding the upcoming Assembly polls. During the meeting, TMC leaders alleged that the BSF was intimidating people in border areas of West Bengal to cast their votes in favour of a 'particular political party'.
On the other hand, Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh urged the ECI to deploy Central Forces in the state at the earliest claiming there is a 'sense of fear' among people ahead of elections. Ghosh also asked ECI to take its cognisance of the issue of alleged inclusion of Rohingyas in the voter's list in the border areas.
Arora said, "The political parties wanted optimal deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Some political parties also cited anomalies in the electoral rolls."After consultations with the Chief Secretary, DGP and Home Secretary of West Bengal, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided that there will be no civic police and green police volunteers near any polling station.
Arora said the number of polling stations has been increased keeping the pandemic situation in mind. "Earlier West Bengal had 78,903 polling stations. Now the state has 1,01,790 polling stations. All polling stations shall be at the ground floor level," he added.
To make elections more inclusive, the top ECI officials met with Persons with Disabilities (PwD) icons in Bengal to discuss measures to facilitate PwD voters. The ECI will hold special drives and awareness camps to enrol more such voters.
Elections to 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are scheduled to take place in the next few months. (ANI)