Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday rejected West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that outsiders had captured the “Boyal” polling booth in Nandigram and conducted false voting on April 1.
Special observers Ajay Nayak (General) and Vivek Dube (Police) submitted a final report to the EC over Mamata Banerjee’s allegations on Saturday.
The EC cited the reports by special observers and officials “at various levels” to say that there was “no mention of either outsiders or guns and goons capturing the said booth”.
The EC replied in ‘minutes by minutes ‘ response to the Chief Minister’s letter regarding voting at Booth No. 6, Moktab Primary School, Nandigram.
“The allegations in your handwritten letter are factually incorrect, and there is no specific evidence to support the allegations, the EC said
Incidentally, on Thursday, April 1, when the second round of polling was in full swing in the morning at the booth in Nandigram, tensions escalated when Banerjee appeared at the booth in the afternoon after being accused of not allowing Trinamool Congress agents to sit.
The Chief Minister was in that booth for about two hours that day. While sitting in the booth, she wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sudip Jain accusing the central forces and polling officers of supporting the printed vote.
In its response to Banerjee’s letter, the EC has said that allegations made against Border Security Force (BSF) jawans deployed at the Boyal polling station in Nandigram are “far from the truth”.
Rubbishing the allegations, the EC said, “There is no evidence at all to suggest that the BSF jawans who were deployed at the polling station, indulged in any inappropriate behaviour. Moreover, the complaint that they did not allow the voters to go inside the booth is far from the truth.”
A mock drill was conducted at 0530 hrs at the Boyal polling station in Nandigram and voting commenced at 7 am on April 1, the EC said in its response. The Commission also said that the polling agents of the BJP, CPI-M and an Independent were present inside the Boyal polling booth at the time of the mock drill.
The Commission also said that the TMC polling agent never showed up at the Boyal booth. “The ECI cannot force any one unwilling to work as a polling agent,” the Commission said in its letter.
The EC said the sector officer, IPS Nagendra Tripathi, General Observer IAS Hemen Das and Police Observer IPS Ashutosh Roy visited the polling booth inside Boyal Maktab Primary School and assured the Commission that voting was going on peacefully.
Relevant CCTV footage is available with the Commission to prove that there was no wrongdoing in the process, said the EC.
There was no report of any violence, nor was there any intimidation of voters at the Boyal polling booth, said the EC.
The Commission went on to say, “It is self-evident from the perusal of all the reports that the allegations mentioned in your hand-written note are factually incorrect, without any empirical evidence whatsoever and devoid of truth.