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West Bengal Police, Central forces not allowed inside booths during voting: EC

The direction comes after the TMC, in a letter to the EC on Monday, alleged that the Central Forces were encouraging the BJP candidates by entering booths and influencing voters in West Bengal.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday ruled that neither the West Bengal Police nor the Central forces are allowed inside the polling booths at the time of voting.

The poll body said the forces can enter if and when the Presiding Officer asks them to come in.

The direction comes after the Trinamool Congress in a letter to the EC on Monday alleged that the Central Forces were encouraging the BJP candidates by entering booths and influencing voters in West Bengal.

The TMC had claimed that Union Minister and sitting BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo and other BJP candidates were entering various polling booths threatening and intimidating the poll officials and agents of other political parties.

It said the Central Forces were allowing the BJP candidates to violate the Model Code of Conduct adding that the Election Commission has failed to ensure free and fair polling in a neutral manner.

On Monday, as West Bengal went to the Lok Sabha polls in its eight constituencies, incidents of violence were reported from many election booths.

Clashes and an incident of firing by a police personnel were reported inside a booth.

Following the complaint, the EC on Tuesday directed the filing of an FIR against Babul Supriyo for allegedly trespassing into a booth at Barabani under Asansol and threatening a polling agent and an officer.