April 29, 2019
Trinamool lodges complaints with EC against CRPF personnel
The All India Trinamool Congress today lodged two complaints with the Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, one regarding the needless firing by Central Forces inside a polling booth in Dubrajpur in the Birbhum constituency this morning, and the second regarding the over-stepping of their duties by coercing and intimidating people into voting for the BJP at several polling stations.
In the first instance, the AITC has recorded its strong objection to the opening of firing by Central Force personnel in the Dubrajpur booth, thus scaring away voters, disrupting the voting process and unnecessarily creating tension in the region. We all know that these forces are deployed to instill confidence among the voters by their presence and to facilitate polling officials in the orderly conduct of voting. In case there is trouble, they are empowered to detain the trouble-maker and hand him over to the State Police. But that is it. Enforcing law and order is the responsibility of the State Police. The Central Forces cannot open fire without the permission of the district returning officer, and definitely not on the instructions of a political leader of the region, which appears to be what happened today.
The fourth phase of the election is going on today. But in all the phases, there have been many instances and situations where Central Force personnel are influencing voters either while they are approaching the polling station or after they have arrived, telling them to vote for the ruling party at the Centre, that is, the BJP. This major contravention of their duties was the subject of the second complaint lodged with the EC today. It was pointed out that this complaint had been made earlier as well, but no action had been taken by the Commission, whose bounden role is to ensure that free and fair elections are held throughout the country. The instances of the Central Forces influencing, instilling and persuading voters to vote for the ruling BJP at the behest of the party’s leaders are numerous and have occurred quite openly. We have attached media clippings to substantiate this.
In both cases, the AITC has urged the Chief Election Commissioner to take immediate and strong measures one against the person or persons responsible for opening fire, and two against Central Force personnel in general, who are acting on the behest of BJP leaders while coercing voters to vote for the party. There are three more phases to be completed, and the EC must ensure that the CAPF personnel strictly abide within the ambit of their duties, so that the election is truly held in a free and fair manner.