Mamata Banerjee, who had urged Trinamool Congress workers to hit central paramilitary forces’ personnel on 7 April, after which CISF and CRPF jawans were indeed attacked on 10 April, took potshots at the Election Commission of India on Sunday after it restricted political leaders from visiting Cooch Behar where violence broke out during the fourth phase of in West Bengal assembly elections on 10 April.
“EC should rename MCC as Modi Code of Conduct! BJP can use all its might but NOTHING in this world can stop me from being with my people & sharing their pain. They can restrict me from visiting my brothers & sisters in Cooch Behar for 3 days but I WILL be there on the 4th day!” the West Bengal chief minister wrote on Twitter.
Mamata Banerjee’s remark followed the EC’s order barring the entry of politicians in District Cooch Behar for 72 hours to prevent any possible law and order flare-up. “The Election Commission of India further directs that the silence period for phase 5 shall be extended to 72 hours and no campaigning shall be permitted during 72 hours before the close of the poll in order to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections,” an EC order issued said.
As the polling day took a violent turn in West Bengal, five people were killed in two separate incidents — including one involving firing by central forces — in Cooch Behar.
The Election Commission, however, clarified that the central forces on duty at a poll booth open fired as they were under attack by a mob that even attempted to snatch their weapons. “…recourse to open fire by the CISF Personnel became absolutely necessary in order to save the lives of the voters lined up at the polling booth, those of other polling personnel and their own lives as the mob had attempted snatching their weapons also,” the ECI said in a statement,” the poll body said in a statement.
Following the incident reported from polling station number 126 of Sitalkuchi assembly constituency, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (AITC) alleged that central forces opened fire twice at polling booths in Cooch Behar killing four party workers.
While speaking at a poll rally in north Bengal’s Siliguri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Election Commission to take strict action against those responsible for the violence. “What happened in Cooch Behar is unfortunate and sad… Mamata didi and her AITC goons have become jittery because of groundswell of support for BJP,” he said.