Stirring yet another controversy, TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday, urged voters to 'guard EVMs' after voting, while addressing a public meeting in West Bengal's Kharagpur. Displaying her mistrust in CRPF, which handles security of EVM ballots, she said that the voters must themselves guard these machines, irrespective of state police or Central police's presence. Bengal is set to go to polls in 8 phases - March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26, and April 29 with results to be announced on May 2.
"Just before elections, they (BJP) will put deploy goons to scare you. After voting is completed, EVM must be protected. Be it state police or CRPF, if they ask you to leave the voting to them, you have to do it yourself. I trust the police, but still I say this is your job. You have to do it," said the CM.
Reacting to her claims, BJP MP Arjun Singh said, "Mamata Didi feels that people function as she does. She fears loss in Bengal as the people are not with her. The security that she has been provided, yet she feels scared - attacking CPM sometimes, call the BJP's B-Team. Such utterances will happen every day now. Bengal's people have decided for a change." Both TMC and BJP have repeatedly approached EC over adequate security provisions in Bengal amid poll campaigns and upcoming polling.
Recently, hours after filing her nomination from Nandigram, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that she was attacked by 4-5 people while she was returning after performing a puja in a temple at Barulia Bazar in Nandigram, adding that no security official was present when she was attacked. She alleged that 4-5 people pushed her into her car and closed the door on her foot, leading to her injury. After thorough investigation, ECI ruled out the possibility of Mamata's injury being an attack based on the reports of the poll observers and the Chief Secretary of Bengal, and it has said that details relating to this will be given in due course. Since then, Banerjee has been wheel-chair bound and has been holding her campaigns and rallies in her injured state, thundering " In a wheelchair, I will roam the entire Bengal. Khela Hobe!"
The saffron party is gearing for a tough battle in Bengal - aiming to attain more than 200 seats, while not fielding a CM face yet. With over 65,000 booth committees and 14,000 Shakti Kendra constituted, the BJP has appointed five veterans as central observers - with the final call to be taken by Amit Shah. BJP has also seen an inrush of disgruntled TMC leaders like - Suvendu Adhikari and his two brothers, Rajib Banerjee, Jitendra Tiwari, Vaishali Dalmiya, Dinesh Tiwari and recently Mithun Chakraborty as it eyes to forms its first government in Bengal where Mamata Banerjee holds fort with 194 of the 294-member assembly.
TMC, on the other hand, has pushed Mamata Banerjee's 'Bengal's daughter' image, daring the BJP with its catch slogan 'Khela Hobe!' (Game is on). Taking up BJP's challenge, Mamata has filed her nomination from Nandigram, setting up a high-voltage battle against her former aide - Suvendu Adhikari. TMC has also promised 10 lakhs new MSMEs, Rs 1000 pensions for widows, free ration delivery, Rs 1.06 Crore for Economic support in its manifesto, as Mamata aims to defend her turf from a rising BJP.