Nandigram incident: Mamata may face action for making ‘incorrect’ claims

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 04, 2021

West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, sitting in a wheelchair, enters a polling station in Nandigram on April 1   -  DIBYANGSHU SARKAR

Bengal CM had accused EC of failing to maintain law and order, ‘booth capturing’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could either face action or a fine or both for what happened at a polling station in Nandigram last week. Banerjee is contesting from the constituency against the BJP candidate and her one-time confidant, Suvendu Adhikari.

The Bengal Chief Minister had accused the Election Commission of failing to maintain law and order during elections. On April 1, the Chief Minister was stuck in a polling room for some hours till security finally rescued her, thereby setting of a chain of events leading her to writing to the Commission.

EC’s dismissal

In a communication sent on April 3 by the Commission’s Secretary General, dismissing her allegations of disruption of polling, the Commission said that it is “examining whether happenings of April 1 merit any action under Sections 131 and 123 (2) of the Representation of the People’s Act and or the Model Code of Conduct.”

Section 131 of the Representation of the People Act calls for penalty for disorderly conduct in or near polling stations with a three-month jail term and/or a fine.

Commission’s letter

The Commission’s letter says that as per the report of officials, there is no mention of either “outsiders or guns and goons capturing the said booth,” adding that there is no evidence at all to suggest that BSF jawans, who were deployed at the polling station, indulged in any inappropriate behaviour.

The letter states that the complaint that they did not allow the voters to go inside the booth is “far from the truth.”

The Commission’s reply gives a minute-by-minute account of what transpired at the polling station, to negate what Banerjee claimed in her written note to the Commission alleging irregularities at the polling station.

Published on April 04, 2021

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