Home Ministry warns of violence on counting day

Home Ministry warns of violence on counting day

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday warned state governments of the possibility of violence on the day of the counting of votes.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued an unprecedented alert to state governments about the possibility of "eruption of violence" in various parts of the country during the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections.

The MHA's direction to the states and union territories to "further take adequate measures" to ensure security of strong rooms and venues of counting of votes came in the wake of "calls and statements" issued by "various quarters" for "inciting violence and causing disruption" on the day of counting of votes on Thursday.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs has alerted the State Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police regarding possibility of eruption of violence in different parts of the country in connection with the counting of votes tomorrow. The MHA has asked the States and Union Territories to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquility," an official statement said.

Sources said this was an "unprecedented" alert and it has not happened in the recent past. They said central agencies have received inputs that some organisations and individuals, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura, have given certain statements which may lead to violence and disruption in counting process.

One of the triggers for the alert was the remarks by RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha who threatened the BJP of "bloodshed and chaos" if it attempted to tamper the EVMs and manipulate the election results. He is even quoted as telling his party workers to remain alert and "pick up arms if necessary".

There were widespread violence in West Bengal during the seven phase of polling. Incidents of violence were reported from some other states also.

A senior Opposition leader described the alert as a BJP ploy to indulge in violence as the ruling party was taking an "anticipatory bail". "If they think they are losing, the BJP will indulge in violence," the leader said. The BJP described the allegation as "ridiculous".