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Bengal panchayat poll violence: BJP alleges central forces 'deliberately' not deployed in sensitive areas

BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh said had the central forces been deployed in sensitive areas, there would not have been so much violence. TMC hit back and said there is no guarantee that doing so would have prevented the violence.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick Kolkata Updated on: July 09, 2023 17:46 IST
Security forces
Image Source : PTI BJP-TMC clash over security forces' deployment in Bengal panchayat polls

BJP-TMC trade barbs: A day after over 10 people were killed in the bloodshed during the panchayat election, a war of words broke out between the ruling and the opposition parties with the BJP alleging that the central forces were not deployed ‘deliberately’ in the sensitive areas during the Saturday’s poll. The TMC retorted stating that there was no guarantee, doing so would have prevented the violence.

BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh said had the central forces been deployed in sensitive areas, there would not have been so much violence.

"The central forces were not deployed in sensitive areas deliberately," he said.

The BJP leader alleged that the forces, instead of being deployed in the polling booths, were made to patrol highways or were stationed at police stations.

"Even where they were deployed, that was done only after the violence and looting of votes. They were ordered to be deployed in all booths by the Calcutta High Court, but that was not done," he claimed.

TMC said there was no guarantee that violence would not have happened had the forces been deployed.

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh alleged that four people were shot dead in firing by central forces in Cooch Behar, during the 2021 Assembly polls.

“Polling was held in over 61,000 booths in the panchayat elections and violence happened in only about 60 booths, and serious incidents took place in eight of those. In most cases, TMC workers died due to the violence,” he said.

What did BSF say?

As many as 15 people were killed in the violence that rocked the rural polls on Saturday (July 8), officials said.

BSF DIG of South Bengal Frontier SS Guleria earlier said that the details of sensitive booths were not provided to the force.

"The allegations that the central forces and BSF have failed to provide security cover are completely baseless. We provided troops to the State Election Commission (SEC) for deployment. The polling was completely peaceful wherever central forces were deployed. Even if there were a few minor incidents, it was dealt with professionally," he said.

"We had asked for a list of sensitive booths from the SEC but it was not provided. We learned from the press that the number of sensitive booths is 4,384. The local administration decided on the deployment," he added.

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Bengal panchayat elections: Death toll in poll day violence rises to 18 as TMC govt faces criticism

ALSO READ | Bengal Panchayat election: Violence, bloodshed mark poll day's end; death toll climbs | 10 Points

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