KOLKATA: Slamming West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for raising questions over eight-phase assembly elections, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Saturday said it was required because of the “political violence unleashed by the ruling TMC”, and asserted that his party will ensure single-phase poll if voted to power.
He also vowed to make the state free from violence and terror if the BJP comes to power.
“The eight-phase poll in the state is to ensure a free and fair election. Political violence unleashed by the TMC is rampant in the state,” Ghosh said during a ‘chai pe charcha’ (discussion over tea) session.
The BJP MP said it will be a matter of pride if the polls are conducted in a single-phase.
Banerjee on Friday questioned the decision of the Election Commission of India to conduct the assembly polls in Bengal in eight phases and suspected that the dates were announced as per the suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for better management of the BJP’s poll campaign.
She said the poll panel should not look at the state “through the eyes of the saffron camp” – a reference to the BJP.
Elections for the state will be held in eight phases, up from seven last time, beginning with polling for 30 seats on March 27, chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said on Friday while announcing the poll schedule.
The second phase of the assembly elections is scheduled on April 1 and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on April 6 for 31 seats, fourth phase on April 10 for 44 seats.
The fifth phase will be held on April 17 for 45 constituencies, the sixth phase for 43 seats on April 22, the seventh phase on April 26 for 36 seats and the last and eighth phase on April 29 for 35 seats, Arora said.
Reacting to Ghosh’s assertion, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy wondered if a political party can make a decision on holding election.
Alleging that the saffron party has its influence on the decision of independent bodies like the ECI, CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty asked, “Don’t know how he made such comments. Can a political party decide on the phases of an election?”
Meanwhile, a section of BJP supporters alleged that the party’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ was stopped by police at the Baguihati area in Kolkata on Saturday morning.
The saffron party activists blocked VIP road, a major thoroughfare in the north-eastern part of the city, for a few hours, protesting against the police action.
A senior officer of the Baguihati police station claimed that there was no permission for the programme.
The ‘Parivartan Yatra’ was launched as part of the saffron party’s outreach programme ahead of the assembly polls.