The huge tension at Nadigram’s Boyal — from where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to be rescued by the Central forces — found no mention in the investigation report sought by the Election Commission on Thursday. The two general observers sent by the Commission have reported that the polling process went on smoothly at the station, without any word on the drama that went on for nearly two hours and had to be resolved by hundreds of security forces.
“Polling at PS no 7 ( Boyal Moktab Primary School) is going on smoothly. Hon’ble CM, who is also a contesting candidate, has left the place at about 3.35 pm after staying here for nearly one and half hour.
It may kindly be noted that polling was not disrupted at any moment,” read the report by the observers, the Commission said in a statement.
Ms Banerjee had gone to the spot after Trinamool Congress claimed that the party’s polling agent was not allowed inside the booth by villagers.
There is a back story here. The mother of the agent who was supposed to be there, begged Trinamool leaders and security forces to let off her son from this duty. “He is my only child,” the mother was heard telling a local TV channel. “We have to live here after the elections. We wont be able to.”
The Trinamool then proposed two other persons as booth agents but central forces were reportedly dissatisfied with papers provided about the two men.
Not clear if Mamata Banerjee knew about this. Around 1.30 pm, she arrived at the Boyal booth after wheelchairing down one kilometre of a road so narrow, no cars can enter.
Once there, she found herself caught between aggressive villagers from opposing camps. One set was shouting “Jai Sri Ram”. The other, “khela hobey” (game on).
After staying cooped up the corridor outside the polling booths through the extremely tense face-off between BJP and Trinamool supporters went on outside, she was rescued by the paramilitary forces. From the spot, she had called up Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and told him the situation was the result of the Election Commission’s failure to maintain law and order during the election.
Ms Banerjee had earlier accused the Commission of taking orders from Union Home Minister Amit Shah. On Thursday, she repeated the accusation.
“The Election Commission is working on the instructions of Amit Shah,” the Chief Minister said. “We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But no action has been taken. We will move the court over it. This is unacceptable,” she added, sitting in a wheelchair outside the polling booth 7 in Boyal.
There has been no response from the Commission, which had earlier said such comments of the Chief Minister “belittle” a constitutional body.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain wrote that the
Commission “maintains the position that they would not like to keep on being put in the dock for alleged proximity to any political entity”.