BJP wants central forces in West Bengal

Indian school teachers selected as polling station officials shout slogans against the government and election commission as they demand security forces be posted at voting booths to ensure safety in the upcoming general election in Kolkata on April 8, 20

The BJP on Sunday demanded that the central security forces should remain deployed in West Bengal till the model code of conduct is in force, as they were apprehensive of violence by the Trinamool Congress workers after last round of polling in the state.

"Since the West Bengal Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) has been openly talking about taking 'inch-by-inch' revenge, we fear that Trinamool Congress will unleash violence (against BJP supporters) soon after the polling concludes today. We demand that the central armed forces remain there till the end of the model code of conduct," senior BJP leader and Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.

BJP leaders in West Bengal would approach the election commission in this connection, she added.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has complained against the paramilitary forces being used by the BJP to influence the voters.

The election commission, however, dismissed the TMC allegations.

The model code of conduct will remain in force till May 27 while the counting of votes will be done on May 23.

Sitharaman further alleged that the elections in six of the nine seats in the last and final round of the polling in West Bengal were marred by the TMC workers resorting to intimidating voters and violence

"The EC should take cognisance of the TMC workers intimidating voters. TMC workers have been beating up people and we are afraid that they will start targeting voters after the polls are over,” she added.

Swapan Dasgupta, nominated Rajya Sabha MP who the shared dias with Sitharaman at the press conference, also expressed concern over the prevailing scenario in West Bengal.

"In West Bengal, the violence unleashed by the TMC as part of its 'badla' (revenge) strategy won't end. The central forces must remain in the state as long as the model code of conduct is in operation," he said.

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