The Durgapur CPI(M) leadership has written to the Election Commission (EC) seeking heavy deployment of central forces at booths in several Durgapur pockets where the party is sensing poll rigging by Trinamool Congress activists on 30 April, the election date for Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat.
They are the same polling booths where the Trinamool Congress activists had allegedly resorted to rigging during the local municipal corporation election in May 2012. Specifically, the CPI(M) Durgapur leadership has mentioned that they are apprehending booth capturing and poll rigging by Trinamool goons in booths at HUDCO Bidhan School, BC Roy Engineering College and Bidhannagar Grirls School; all the three in Bidhannagar locality of Durgapur.
The CPI(M) had earlier alleged of poll rigging by armed Trinamool activists in ward No. 27 of the Durgapur Municipal Corporation during the municipality election in 2012.
“Trinamool-backed goons had captured all booths at Bidhannagar and forced voters to stay at home. Bidhannagar is an upscale area and people usually avoid voting if there is trouble. One of the booths had recorded votes more than the number of voters mentioned in the register. We have appealed to the EC to deploy more central forces in all booths in Ward No. 27 to avoid repetition of such an incident,: said Pankaj Ropy Sarkar the CPI(M) local committee secretary of Bidhannagar-Jemua.
The CPI(M) has lost ward No. 27, which falls under the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat, to Trinamool Congress by a small margin of 164 votes. It was the first time since Durgapur Municipal Corporation was formed in 1997 that the CPI(M) lost the ward and ultimately the civic body.
The CPI(M) has also alleged that Trinamool was not allowing it to campaign in several areas of Durgapur for the Lok Sabha polls. The Left party has also alleged that Trinamool has closed down several of its offices and was not allowing it to reopen them. Driven on the back foot, the CPI(M) has sent Bengali New Year greetings card to reach out to the voters.
The Trinamool president of Durgapur, who is also the Durgapur Mayor said: “ The people have rejected the CPI(M) and the party has no alternative but to go to the commission. The CPI(M) will become a signboard in Durgapur after the Lok Sabha poll result comes out.”
District magistrate Saumitra Mohan, the returning officer for Bardhaman, said steps would be taken according to the instruction of the EC.
“We will take all necessary steps to ensure free and fair polls in the district with the available resources and according the instruction of the EC,: the Bardhaman DM said.
An EC observer for the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok sabha seat said a meeting would be held on 28 April with district officials and the police to ascertain sensitive and highly sensitive booths in the constituency and security forces will be deployed accordingly. He also said that commission will examine the CPI(M) demand and action will be taken.