A lawmaker of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has been caught on camera urging party workers to "chase away central forces with brooms" while voting is on for the national elections. Ratna Ghosh Kar, a Trinamool (TMC) lawmaker from Chakda, justified her advice by paraphrasing a popular phrase to say: "Nothing is fair or unfair if you want to win a war."
"I will go to each and every booth and we will not care about the central forces...and if the central forces are pro-active, I will request the Mahila Morcha members to pick up broomsticks and chase them away from our area," the lawmaker is heard saying in a video that has gone viral.
"If you want to win a war, there's nothing fair or unfair, democratic or undemocratic way of winning it. You have to win it by any means. I have seen it in the 2016 elections, how central forces beat up our boys, there was a bloodbath. This time, it is even more challenging, but there is nothing to be scared about," said Ratna Ghosh Kar.
Three high profile constituencies of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raigunj are voting tomorrow in the second phase of elections in Bengal for the Lok Sabha polls. The Trinamool and the BJP are locked in a pitched battle over the three seats with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP chief Amit Shah campaigning aggressively in the region.
Last week, state BJP in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that TMC workers have a history of triggering violence and urged the Election Commission (EC) to post central paramilitary forces and install CCTVs at all polling booths to ensure "free and fair" elections.
"The BJP demands that the EC should deploy paramilitary forces and install CCTVs in all polling booths...We had made the same plea during the panchayat elections. We all saw how the TMC indulged in hooliganism and massive violence during the panchayat polls," Mr Vijayvargiya told reporters in Kolkata on Saturday.
West Bengal saw largely peaceful polls in the first phase on April 11. People turned out in large numbers, with the state recording a turnout of 80.9 per cent.
(With inputs from ANI & PTI)