Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee exchanged barbs after four people died in firing by paramilitary forces — police sources said these people had attacked the CISF and CRPF men first — in Cooch Behar today during the fourth phase of polling in West Bengal. Both the parties demanded that the incident be probed by the Election Commission (EC).
Prime Minister Modi said that Mamata ‘Didi’ abuses EC, CAPF, EVM… to the extent that Didi is abusing her own party’s polling agents now. “She is so desperate that she is defaming Bengal’s voters, Didi, o Didi! People of Bengal don’t expect you to have sensitivity any more,” he added.
He said, “The reason behind Didi’s anger is not only BJP & Modi but the people whose trust Didi has broken. The minority community that Didi persuaded are in distress so she needs to appeal to them continuously.”
At Krishnanagar, Modi accused the AITC of extortion and ransom-seeking again.
The prime minister alleged that members of the chief minister’s party abuse the Scheduled Castes. “She knows she is losing; so, she is suffering from depression,” Modi said.
While the prime minister condoled the deaths in the case of firing in Cooch Behar, he held the chief minister responsible for using violence as a means of protection and “stooping so low after watching her seat slipping away”.
On the other hand, Banerjee said that the firing in Cooch Behar was a part of a larger conspiracy with other All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leaders adding that Prime Minister Modi could be among those who hatched the “plot”.
Voting in the fourth phase of the West Bengal assembly election is underway in 44 constituencies including nine seats in Howrah, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly.
After the central forces firing resulted in the death of four, the EC adjourned voting in polling station 125 of the Sitalkurchi constituency. Election officials will present a detailed report by 5 pm.
Cooch Behar firing sad, Trinamool ‘inciting’ security forces: PM Modi
Calling the deaths of four AITC workers in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar in a firing incident by central forces as saddening, Prime Minister Modi said ‘Didi’ and her ‘goons’ are perturbed after seeing the people’s support for BJP and are ‘inciting’ the security forces to disrupt the election process.
“What happened in Cooch Behar is very saddening. My sympathies are with the families of those who died, I condole their demise. Didi and her goons are perturbed, seeing the people’s support for BJP. She has stooped to this level as she can see her chair slipping away,” Modi said addressing a rally in Siliguri, which will go to poll on 17 April.
“Didi, this violence, the ways of inciting people to attack security forces, the ways of disrupting the election process will not save you. This violence cannot protect you from your 10 years of misdeeds,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi further requested the EC to strongly deal with the culprits of what happened in Cooch Behar.
Conspiracy on instruction of home minister: Mamata
Condemning the Cooch Behar incident in which four AITC workers died, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said a conspiracy is going around under the instruction of Union home minister Amit Shah.
Addressing a public meeting in Hingalganj, Banerjee said, “CRPF has shot dead four people in Sitalkuchi (Cooch Behar) today. There was another death in the morning. CRPF is not my enemy but there is a conspiracy going around under the instruction of the home minister. Today’s incident validates that.”
“CRPF has killed voters standing in the queue. Where do they get so much audacity? BJP knows that they have lost, so they are killing voters and workers,” added Banerjee.
Trinamool workers stopped voters; central forces tried to disperse crowd that then attacked
Four people were killed as central forces allegedly opened fire after coming under attack from locals, who “attempted to snatch their rifles”, in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on Saturday, police said.
The incident took place in the Sitalkuchi area when voting was underway, a senior district police officer said.
“As per preliminary reports, four persons were killed as CISF personnel opened fire after coming under attack in a village.
“A scuffle took place, and locals gheraoed them and attempted to snatch their rifles, following which the central forces opened fire. Further details are awaited,” he said.
18-year-old voter gunned down
In a shocking incident, an 18-year-old voter, Ananda Barman, was allegedly gunned down by miscreants outside booth number 85 in the Pathantuli area after clashes broke out between activists of the ruling TMC and the BJP.
The culprits, who are yet to be identified, managed to flee, the officials said.
The incident led to violence in the area as bombs were hurled, prompting central forces to baton-charge to bring the situation under control, police said.
Both the TMC and BJP claimed that Barman belonged to their party, but his family members said he was an activist of the saffron party.
“We have received information about a person being shot outside a polling booth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar. We have sought a report from the micro observer,” an Election Commission of India (EC) official said.