Amid the first phase of Assembly polls in 30 constituencies of West Bengal on Saturday, a tape versus tape played out between the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP, with each party releasing an audio clip to accuse the other of electoral malpractice and showing signs of defeat.
The BJP released an audio clip where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee purportedly seeks help from TMC-turned-BJP leader Pralay Pal from Nandigram to rejoin the TMC and help her win the seat. The party worker Proloy Pal is a close aide of Suvendu Adhikari, who is contesting from Nandigran against Banerjee in Assembly polls.
The ruling TMC senior leader Subrata Mukherjee questioned the genuineness of the audio tape and asked whether it was done by BJP in a planned way. However, the other TMC leaders have asserted that since Pralay Pal was a former TMC leader who switched over to the BJP, there was nothing wrong with Banerjee trying to woo him back.
In the clip, Banerjee was heard telling Pralay Pal in Bengali that, Tumi toh onek young chele ar onek kaaj koro, ami jani shob kichu. Ebare amader ektu sahajjo kore dao na; dekhbe kono osubidhe hobe na (I know you are young and work a lot. Help us a bit this time, you will face no problem).
Hours later, the ruling TMC hit back by releasing an audio tape where BJP National Vice President Mukul Roy was heard briefing the party leader Shishir Bajoria on ways to influence the Election Commission.
In a leaked conversation, Roy purportedly said the Election Commission should be requested to pass administrative orders permitting any voter anywhere in Bengal to be booth agents at any booth in the state. If we don’t get this done, the BJP won’t be able to field agents in many booths, Roy told Bajoria. Reacting to the clip, Roy said that the TMC leaders are making everything up.
However, the content of either clip was not verified by APN and hence their authenticity cannot be confirmed.
The Election Commission has earlier passed an order allowing Bengal voters to be booth agents anywhere in the state. However, a delegation of Trinamool MPs has been requesting the Commission to rescind the order.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the Assembly poll in Bengal that began on Saturday reported 82 percent voter turnout.