22 May 2019
Kolkata: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday accused the Trinamool Congress of planning to foment violence inside vote counting centres if the poll verdict goes against it, as many workers of West Bengal's ruling party huddled in front of several counting centres across constituencies to 'guard' electronic voting machines (EVMs).
"Hundreds of Trinamool supporters gathered in front of vote counting centres across the state in the name of guarding EVMs and strong rooms. The Election Commission conducts the polling process and the central forces have been deployed to protect machines.
"Their party supremo instructed their goons to protect voting machines. This arrangement indicates that they have plans to create ruckus inside vote counting centres, if the verdict goes against them," said state BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar after meeting officials at the Chief Electoral Officer's office here.
As many as 200 companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) have been deployed for guarding strongrooms and counting centres.
"We have demanded proper deployment of central forces in counting centres and invocation of prohibitory orders Section 144 upto 200 metres from counting centres in order to resist Trinamool miscreants," Majumdar told reporters.
Dismissing the exit poll predictions of the Lok Sabha elections as "gossip", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already said it is a "game plan to manipulate and replace thousands of EVMs" and urged opposition leaders to stand united.
She has also called upon party workers to guard voting machines in the strongrooms so that the machines "cannot be replaced".
Trinamool workers were seen sitting in front of many vote counting centres across districts after the party high command asked them to "guard" voting machines.
"We have been here to protect machines as party leaders asked us to do so," said a Trinamool worker sitting in front of Sreerampore College counting centre where EVMs of all seven Assembly segments of Sreerampore Lok Sabha constituency would be counted.
Almost all exit polls either gave a majority to the NDA or predicted it would come close to the magic figure.
The various exit polls also forecast a massive increase in the BJP's number of seats - from two in 2014 to between 16 and 18 in West Bengal.
There are 58 counting centres spread across the state for 42 Lok Sabha constituencies. The votes cast in a total of 78,799 polling stations in 294 Assembly segments will be counted by 25,000 counting personnel.