Mamata remains in booth for two hours in Nandigram, slams EC for “inaction”

Mamata remains in booth for two hours in Nandigram, slams EC for “inaction”

Biswabrata Goswami

NANDIGRAM, 1 APRIL: Amid incidents of stray violence in the high profile Nandigram constituency, Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee remained inside a polling booth at Boyal for two hours after she was informed that BJP workers were not allowing voting to take place there.

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Disappointed Mamata slammed the Election Commission for “inaction” despite Trinamul Congress lodging several poll-related complaints.

“We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But no action has been taken. We will move the court over it. This is the worst election I have ever seen in my life,” said the chief minister, who sat in a wheelchair outside booth 7 in Boyal in Nandigram.

Getting informed about booth jamming, rigging and intimidation, Mamata decided to visit the booths in Nandigram to take stock of the situation and accordingly, she visited polling centres at Sonachura, Reyapara, Balarampur, Boyal, Nandigram block 1 and 2.

In Boyal, villagers had alleged that BJP supporters had stopped them from going to polling booths. As she reached the school, BJP supporters shouted “Jai Shri Ram” slogans.

The situation became tense soon as workers of both TMC and BJP assembled in a warring position outside the booth and they were involved in a verbal duel.

A huge police contingent led by OC, Nandigram, Nagendra Tripathi, an IPS ranked officer, was rushed to the spot to control the situation, after which the crowd dispersed.

At around 3.45 pm, she was helped out by police and Central forces.

“The person who has stood from BJP here has been conducting enormous ruckus in the region for the last 24 hours and through the night,” she told reporters after coming out of the booth, referring to Suvendu Adhikari, her former trusted lieutenant who is now BJP’s high-profile candidate.

“The home minister himself is stopping the CRPF, CAPF and other jawans from doing their work. Outsiders, who cannot speak Bengali, have occupied the area,” she said.

She also said that the BJP has been flourishing under the Election Commission’s indulgence. “I apologise to the Election Commission for their own silence,” she said.

The CM pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing Bengal people on a poll day (from Jainagar, which is not going to polls today) and resources like Doordarshan were being unfairly devoted to him.

From the spot, she dialled Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, telling him the situation was a failure of the Election Commission, which was in charge of the law and order.

“Anything might happen at any moment… There is a total breakdown of law and order,” she said, fearing for her life.

Mamata said that the Election Commission was overlooking ‘cheating’ being committed by the BJP.

“I am going to win in Nandigram, but I am worried about democracy. They are influencing voting using the central forces,” Mamata said.  “Whatever you (Election Commission) try, BJP will not win. In Nandigram, 90% of the votes went to TMC,” she added.

“I am showing you ‘V’ for the victory sign. I’m sorry Election Commission and Amit Shah, please control your goons who are heckling women journalists in rallies. I can’t reveal what I discussed with the Observer and Governor, it’s confidential. I haven’t seen such a bad election,” Mamata told reporters.

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