A delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, 13 March, met Election Commission (EC) officials, urging them to declare West Bengal a “super sensitive state” to ensure a fair Lok Sabha election.
Addressing media outside the EC office in Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the delegation put forth certain demands, including freedom of press and deployment of central forces in the state.
The delegation included Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Kailash Vijaywargiyya, Mukul Roy and JP Nadda.
“On behalf of the party, we told the EC that Bengal is that state of the country where at least 100 people have died during the local body and panchayat polls. The winning candidates aren’t allowed to enter the state, officers sit on a dharna with the chief minister, the helicopter of the ruling party President Amit Shah isn’t allowed to land, other CM’s helicopters are also not allowed to land. That is why, we have demanded that the state of West Bengal be declared super sensitive,” said Prasad.
He further said that the delegation requested EC to remove officers whose electoral impartiality is questionable and central forces should be deployed at all polling booths.
“We have also given names of some officers whose impartiality is questionable. We have requested such officers to be removed from electoral posts. Most importantly, central forces must be deployed at all polling booths as the local police acts as TMC workers,” Prasad said.
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“All deployment should be done under the supervision of the central observer. The media is not free either. The media should be freely available to everybody because it is important for democracy. We urged that the EC deploys a media observer as well,” the BJP leader said.
Prasad also alleged that Opposition parties in the state are not allowed to use loudspeakers for election campaigning under the pretext of a 1986 circular.
“There is a 1986 circular that loudspeakers cannot be used near schools and religious institutions. We don’t have an objection near exam centres. But exams are getting over in March. However, the circular is being used to stop election campaigning and that is unfortunate,” he said.
Prasad also said that the BJP delegation also complained to the EC against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly breaking the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
“We have also complained to the EC against Rahul Gandhi. The Model Code of Conduct clearly states that no leader should make unverified allegations against anybody. But the way Rahul Gandhi made allegations against the PM yesterday, saying ‘whose pockets were filled with public money.’ There can be nothing shameful than that. We have told the EC that action should be taken against Rahul Gandhi under the MCC,” he said.