The polling for 31 seats under the third phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections is currently underway. However, a night before the elections, in a sensational turn of events, four Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and four Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) were found at TMC leader Gautam Ghosh’s house in Uluberia North constituency. The videos of the incident have since gone viral on social media platforms and TMC’s plan of sabotaging the electoral process has come to a nought.
4 EVMs, VV PAT recovered from a TMC leader, Goutam Ghosh's house at Uluberia in Howrah district. pic.twitter.com/XcTy1FTMh6
— Urvi kar (@kar_urvi) April 6, 2021
The incident came to light after a ‘Sector 17’ election duty car was found parked outside the TMC leader’s house. According to media reports, the EVMs and VVPATs were brought to the residence of the TMC leader by Tapan Sarkar, a sector officer, in an election duty car.
The sector officer after being caught red-handed by the villagers claimed that he reached the polling booth late in the night and by that time, the central forces had slept off. Not being allowed entry inside, the officer claimed to have gone to a relative’s house which conveniently happened to be Gautam Ghosh — the TMC MLA.
Reports suggest that when the villagers found out about the EVMs, tension broke down in the area, and the police force arriving at the spot had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Reportedly, the four EVMs recovered from the site were reserved and have been barred from use.
However, the Election Commission (EC) did not buy any of the sector officer’s hogwash and he was immediately suspended. As per the EC sources, disciplinary action will be taken against the polling officials responsible for this lapse.
“Tapan Sarkar, sector officer of Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar at Howrah district, went with Reserve EVM and slept at a relative’s house. This is a gross violation of EC’s instructions for which he has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment,” the EC said.
As reported previously by TFI, Mamata Banerjee has not been able to unleash her TMC goons in the presence of the Central armed forces to rig the polling booths and force the public to vote for her party. Therefore, Mamata might have issued a diktat to her goons to capture the EVMs and lock in the few measly votes it might have carried. Didi also appears to be frustrated by the fact that EC is closely monitoring the elections in Bengal and not letting her play her little tricks.
Mamata has been seemingly trying to find a window to somehow disrupt the entire polling process. On April 1, during the phase-2 polling, Didi went inside the Boyal poll booth in Nandigram and camped there for a good hour or two and created a mindless ruckus.
Claiming that the central forces were not allowing the locals to cast vote, Mamata sitting in the booth called up the governor of the state and asked him to take cognisance of the issue. Importantly enough, the entire PR stunt was elaborately staged in front of the media cameras and Mamata completed the entire scene in one take.
However, the EC demolished Mamata’s allegations and ensured that every single voter was allowed to vote without any intervention by the BSF jawans.
“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.” said the EC.
The TMC leader trying to hijack the EVM’s should not come as a surprise to anyone. However, what is surprising is the stoic silence of the liberal media which unleashed its fury on EC officials in Assam when they were only taking a lift from the BJP leader’s cavalcade without having any prior knowledge after their vehicle broke down. The media has preferred to look the other way in this particular incident as the narrative doesn’t suit their agenda.