West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a frustrated and annoyed individual. With an unending mass exodus of TMC leaders already threatening the very foundations of her rule, India’s first line of defence – the Border Security Force (BSF) is making life all the more difficult for her. As a matter of fact, in the recent past, Banerjee has made no secret of the fact that she wants BSF’s powers and jurisdiction curbed. Why would an Indian leader, however, want the BSF to be untoothed? BSF officers say that this is for the simple reason that the TMC’s grand nexus with criminals along the Indo-Bangladesh border will begin flourishing.
That, effectively, would translate into a constant revenue flow for the party and its leaders when they need it the most – in the run-up to the assembly polls in April-May this year. However, the BSF has had just about enough of unfounded allegations being levelled against it – without evidence no less.
Pankaj Kumar Singh, Special Director General of BSF hit out at the TMC saying, “Let me know the instance and person involved, we’ll take action. Till now we haven’t been told anything. We are a professional force and don’t indulge in all this. Anyone involved will not be spared.”
With (West Bengal Assembly) elections looming ahead, we have to be even more vigilant for any kind of illegal border crossing and people who could spread trouble during our peaceful election: Pankaj Kumar Singh, Special DG Border Security Force, in Kolkata pic.twitter.com/NxhwirclnI
— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2021
This was in response to West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister and TMC leader Firhad Hakim’s baseless allegations of the BSF intimidating people in border areas of the state and telling them to vote for the BJP. The TMC, in fact, has also approached the Election Commission with the same complaint, albeit without any evidence to back their claims.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora fully knowing the bizarrity of such allegations, said, “It is unfortunate that a party made averments about the BSF. I’ve asked for concrete instances. They’re (BSF) one of the finest forces in the country. There is no point in castigating any force, ad nauseam.”
But it isn’t just some low rung TMC leaders who are going around as town criers and levelling allegations against the BSF. No less than Mamata Banerjee has herself, on more occasions than one, accused the BSF of “harassing local people” and “entering villages” in the areas along the international border in the name of hunting down smugglers and criminals.
The TMC supremo has also complained to the Union Home Ministry many times in the past about the BSF “overstepping its jurisdiction”. Earlier, she had complained to Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the BSF, again, without any evidence. But why is the TMC so desperate to rein in the Border Security Force?
The BSF does not allow infiltrators into India. Effectively, that hurts the TMC big time, as its illegal Bangladeshi vote bank witnesses no expansion. And why does the ruling party need more of a Bangladeshi vote bank? For the simple reason that the Hindu and tribal vote in the state is being consolidated by the BJP. In face of the TMC’s shrinking voter base, their only hope for survival is the entry of illegal infiltrators into the voter records of India, which the BSF is serving as an impediment to.
Finally, according to those in the frontline force, the TMC is in need of revenue – which is why it wants cross-border crime syndicates to operate to their fullest capacity, especially before elections. Again, the BSF is not allowing the same, which is why the party has begun hating the force.