BJP leader and Union Minister Babul Supriyo on Tuesday denied allegations of threatening election officials at a voting booth in West Bengal during the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha election, and accused the presiding officer of stage-managing the polling process.
"When I entered the booth, I caught the Presiding Officer standing right behind the EVM. He would have protested if I were wrong. I warned him and said that he was a government officer and should behave like one and do his duty accordingly," the BJP leader told news agency ANI.
After reports of Mr Supriyo's altercation with poll officials, the Election Commission directed the police to file a case against him.
The Union Minister allegedly entered the voting booth without permission and got into an argument with polling officials, following which Trinamool Congress supporters vandalised his vehicle. Photos of the incident showed the rear windows of the car smashed.
"The windows adjacent to electronic voting machine (EVM) were open. People from outside could actually see what is going on inside the booth. The entire set up was wrong. We had the information about all this," Mr Supriyo said.
Workers of the BJP and Trinamool Congress clashed outside a polling station in Barabani after the BJP activists demanded that the voting process be continued only after central forces came to the spot.
"I had the permission to enter the booth with my election agent. Then we caught the Presiding Officer red-handed. Voters in large numbers were not given a chance to enter the polling booth. TMC polling agents sitting inside had thrown BJP agents out," Mr Supriyo said.
The BJP leader had said he would be on the road and visit every polling station where trouble was reported. He tweeted the details of several polling booths which were affected by "violence and brutal intimidation" by members of the state's ruling party.
After the violence in Asansol, election commission announced that only central security personnel will oversee the voting process in Bengal during the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 6. In the fifth phase, 578 companies of central forces will be deployed in the seven constituencies going to the polls, as compared to 562 deployed for eight constituencies in the previous one.
The state police will not be allowed within 100 metres of the booths, the State Special Police Observer said.
Mr Supriyo is the BJP candidate from the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency, and is contesting against the Trinamool Congress's Moon Moon Sen. Asked about violence, the former actor told NDTV: "They gave me my bed tea very late, so I woke up very late. What can I say? I really don't know."
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