West Bengal polls: EC issues notice to Mamata Banerjee over 'false, provocative' remarks about CAPF

The West Bengal chief minister allegedly told voters that they must 'restrain' CAPF personnel if they 'create disturbances' while polling is underway

Press Trust of India April 09, 2021 20:33:48 IST
West Bengal polls: EC issues notice to Mamata Banerjee over 'false, provocative' remarks about CAPF

File image of Mamata Banerjee addressing a poll rally. ANI

New Delhi/Kolkata: The Election Commission has issued a notice to Mamata Banerjee for her "completely false, provocative and intemperate statements" against central forces performing election duty in West Bengal, provoking a defiant TMC boss to declare she will continue doing so until "the CRPF stops working for BJP".

The notice issued on Thursday night said the West Bengal chief minister prima facie violated various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Model Code of Conduct with her remarks against the central forces.

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The chief minister has been asked to respond to the notice by 11 am on Saturday.

"... prima facie, completely false, provocative and intemperate statements made by Mamata Banerjee... attempts to berate and vilify Central Paramilitary Forces during electoral process are causing extreme demoralisation amongst ranks and file of these forces...," the notice said.

It lauded the CAPFs for rendering a service since the late 80s election after election, especially in ensuring area domination and causing deterrence for anti-social hooligans with their sheer presence.

Banerjee, on the campaign trail, reacted angrily. She repeated her accusation that the poll watchdog was doing the BJP and home minister's bidding.

"I will continue speaking about the CPRF until they stop working for the BJP. Once they stop doing that, I will salute them. I do not care anything about your (EC's) showcause letters. You are working at the behest of the BJP. I wonder why there is no MCC violation when the PM campaigns on polling days," Mamata told a rally at Jamalpur in Purba Bardhaman.

Banerjee, at her election rallies, has often accused central forces of intimidating voters "under instructions from Union Home Minister Amit Shah" and also asked women to restrict their movement.

This is the second notice to Banerjee in the last few days.

On Wednesday, the poll body had issued her a notice over her alleged appeal for votes along communal lines, saying it was in violation of the model code and the Representation of People Act.

The notice said going by the statements made by her on March 28 and April 7, "and the historicity of the subsequent statements... it is more than obvious that MsBanerjee... has been consistent in berating and demoralising the Central Para Military Forces, who often played a significant role in assisting concerned state government and governments of union territories in restoration of law and order ..."

The notice quoted Banerjee as accusing the central paramilitary forces of threatening women voters and not allowing them to exercise their franchise.

"...And if CAPF create disturbances, I tell you ladies, a group of you go and restrain (gherao) them while another group will go to cast their votes. Don't waste your vote. If you engage yourself only in restraining them they will be happy that you did not cast your vote. This is their
plan. It is the plan of BJP.

"And your plan will he that you will not be scared if they try to intimidate you coming to your village on the one hand, on the other you just talk to them. Talking to them will be tantamount to restraining them. You don't have to gherao them literally," the notice, quoting Banerjee, said.

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