Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], December 7 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday sought confirmation over whether the West Bengal State Election Commission is taking steps to deploy Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) for the upcoming Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections, keeping in mind the post-poll violence during the state assembly elections.

Highlighting that the party has approached the Commission for the deployment of CAPF "on a few earlier occasions", the BJP delegation's letter read: "Keeping the post-poll (Vidhan Sabha) violence in mind and the current threats that are being made to our candidates, agents and workers, deployment of CAPF is a must for free, fair and peaceful polls.""If any unfortunate incident happens, we will hold the Commission responsible," the BJP said.

The BJP delegation, in a letter to West Bengal EC, has put forward four other demands for the elections which are scheduled for December 19, including usage of VVPATs (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail).

"VVPATs are an integral part of EVMs, as has also been ruled by the Supreme Court of India in several decisions. You are called upon not to use any EVM without the provision of VVPATs, else it shall raise doubts about the sanctity of the entire electoral exercise," the letter further read.

The party also urged that the eligibility of the polling agent should be based on the respective constituency, in line with the Election Commission of India, and "not confined to the voters of a part".

In their 5-point letter, they also urged the commission to postpone the counting of votes of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections "till elections to all other municipalities and municipal corporations in West Bengal are concluded," and to count all votes simultaneously.

BJP has also requested the EC to withdraw the Facilitation Centres and said that they will "only be used to facilitate bulk voting (chappa vote)".

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was also scheduled to meet State Election Commissioner Saurav Das today over the preparedness for Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections.

According to the notification issued by the State Election Commission (SEC) on November 25, voting will be held on December 19 from 7 am to 5 pm.

The counting of votes will be held on December 21.

This will be the first major electoral battle in West Bengal after the May 2021 assembly polls, which the Trinamool Congress won comprehensively.

The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC registered a landslide victory in polls winning 213 seats in the 294-member West Bengal assembly. The BJP lost the polls but emerged as the second-largest party with 77 seats. (ANI)

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