Kolkata: Indicting West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for Model Code of Conduct violations over her continuous tirade against the Central paramilitary forces and her recent diktat to “gherao” them during the remaining phases of the Assembly elections in the state, the Election Commission severely reprimanded the Trinamul Congress supremo in yet another notice on Thursday night and sought her explanation by 11 am on Saturday.
Finding her allegations “completely false, provocative and intemperate” statements, the EC said Ms Banerjee’s attacks and “attempts to berate and vilify the Central paramilitary forces during the electoral process are causing extreme demoralisation among the rank and file of these forces, who have been rendering yeoman’s service since the late 1980s in election after election….”
It also noted that the two-time CM “has been consistent in berating and demoralising the Central paramilitary forces… Far more discouraging is the fact that Ms Banerjee has been trying to make an emotional pitch for women voters to go to the extent of inciting them to attack the personnel of CPFs. It is extremely unfortunate that political battles are thus sought to be fought in this manner instead of being fought on the campaign trail etc.”
Ms Banerjee, according to the EC, “is perhaps not realising that this kind of statement can create a wedge of distrust between the state police of West Bengal, who are also doing their own duty with the Central forces, instead of complementing each other. In fact, Ms Banerjee is sparing no efforts to ensure that a deep wedge and drift is created amongst them which is bound to have serious consequential damage even after the process of elections is over.”
Union home minister Amit Shah, who was in the city on Friday for the poll campaign, tore into the TMC chief over her all-out criticism of the Central forces and the accusations against him. Rejecting her claims, he observed that he had never heard of “a CM of a state or the head of a political party making attacking comments on the Central forces like Ms Banerjee.”
Mr Shah urged the TMC chief to apply her “common sense”, reminding her of the “control” of the EC, instead of his ministry, on the Central forces during the polls. He also argued that Ms Banerjee has been “frustrated”, realising that she was facing defeat in the polls, which is reflected in her comments. “She should reply to the notice from the EC to her,” the Union home minister said.
The TMC chief, however, remained defiant despite the massive pressure that is mounting on her since this was the second notice in a gap of 24 hours to her from the EC over her violations of the MCC.
“I will keep talking against the CRPF and BSF as long as they are with the BJP. Otherwise, I will salute them. I respect and salute the jawans of our country. However, I would not do the same to those who are working on the instructions of Mr Shah. I will better die rather than saluting Mr Shah,” she told a TMC rally at Jamalpur in Burdwan East.