Poll violence has become a major concern for the Election Commission during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In the ongoing polls, the state of West Bengal has witnessed multiple incidents of poll rigging and violence.
In Islampur, CPI(M) candidate from Raiganj, Md Salim’s car was attacked recently. CPI(M) accused the TMC workers of carrying out the attack on their leader. Salim said that the police did not do anything while the goons attacked his car.
In the Chopra district of Darjeeling constituency, security personnel fired tear gases on the agitators, who blamed the state government of obstructing them from voting. The agitators blocked the national highway 31 and also hurled crude bombs on the security personnel. EVM machines were smashed by the supporters of various political parties at polling booth in Chopra.
Congress and BJP leaders have complained that the state government is not allowing peaceful elections to take place in West Bengal. BJP leader Babul Supriyo said, “TMC resorted to violence during polls at Raigunj by threatening and beating up people who went out to vote. Voters had to be escorted to the booths by the armed forces present there. Let’s put an end to #TMChhi’s atrocities and attacks against democracy by stripping them of power.” While the TMC is facing tough competition against the BJP government, BJP is determined to spread its foot in the third largest state in terms of constituencies represented in the Parliament.
As violence continues to plague the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, amidst the chaos, a poll officer has gone missing. An FIR was filed and investigation has started. The police are not able to track the poll officer as both his mobile phones are switched off. Arnab, the nodal officer of Nadia, was in charge of EVMs and VVPATs in Ranaghat Parlimentary constituency. According to OpIndia, the wife of the poll officer has asked the media to stop spreading rumours and help in finding her husband.
In this regard and in concern of their security, electoral officers sent a request to the EC for providing central forces in all booths. The poll officials said that they feel insecure and have protested against the state police forces. They have lost all the trust in state government and their security arrangements and want central forces to be deployed.
The high security concerns have led to the recruitment of 15000 paramilitary troopers deployed in the second phase. The rise in security issue is a major problem that requires the attention of the Election Commission.