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14 May 2018

'Outsiders' trigger Bengal rigging fear Mamata's plea and promise

TT, Calcutta: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday appealed to all political parties to ensure free and fair panchayat polls on Monday before stressing that the administration would do its best to maintain peace on the voting day.
"I would appeal to the people to vote peacefully for their own good and development of rural Bengal. Administration will be alert and conscious to maintain peace. I would also appeal to all political parties to ensure peaceful elections," Mamata said in a telephonic interview to ABP Anandaon Sunday evening.
She stressed that the administration would not spare anybody trying to create unnecessary tension on the day of the polling and referred to the incident in Bhangar in which a man (Hafizul Molla) had been killed allegedly by Trinamul leader Arabul Islam's supporters.
"Arabul was arrested despite being a zilla parishad candidate of the Trinamul Congress. I thought he had done something wrong. So, I ordered his arrest," Mamata said in an attempt to send out a message that the government would not spare law violators.
The Opposition parties weren't, however, convinced with Mamata's message as they have been holding the ruling party responsible for violence in the run up to the polls.
Mamata played the victim card on Sunday and said the ruling party had lost maximum number of workers in the pre-poll violence. She also said highest number of Trinamul workers had been arrested during her regime.
The chief minister alleged that a political party was trying to bribe voters and pumping in huge amounts of cash ahead of the rural polls. "I have asked the administration to be alert and take action immediately. I would appeal to the people also to stay alert and conscious about such cash flows in villages the night before the voting," she said.
The Trinamul chief also made an appeal not to pay heed to fake videos that might be circulated through the social media from Monday morning to create unnecessary tension on the day of the polls.
Mukul Roy, the BJP's panchayat election committee convenor, appealed to people to vote for another change in Bengal
"It is for the first time rural polls are being held only in 66 per cent seats and both the state election commission and the government are to blame for it. My appeal to the voters would be to exercise franchise without fear and vote for yet another change in Bengal."
Roy has instructed all BJP polling agents not to leave the booths whatever comes in their way.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said: "Voters have to come forward fearlessly and vote for choice of their own independently to restore democracy in Bengal. It is their constitutional right and they should not abstain from exercising it."

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