The Election Commission has imposed a 48-hour campaigning ban on Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rahul Sinha for his comments on the Cooch Behar incident in which four people died, reported India Today on Tuesday. The ban started from 12 pm on Tuesday and remain will in effect till Thursday noon.
The poll panel has also issued a notice to BJP West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh for his comments on the firing incident in the Cooch Behar district.
On April 10, four people were killed as the central security force personnel opened fire at a polling booth in Sitalkuchi after some local residents allegedly clashed with them. Another person was shot dead that day outside a polling booth in the same district by unidentified men.
On Monday, Sinha said that the central forces should have killed eight instead of four people. “The central forces should be issued a showcause notice asking why they killed four and not eight,” he said. “An 18-year-old boy was shot dead in public at a polling station for doing [supporting] BJP. And their leader is Mamata Banerjee.”
Sinha is contesting elections from the Habra constituency.
Dilip Ghosh, who was issued a notice by the poll panel, had warned on Sunday that there will be more “Sitalkuchi-like instances” if the “bad boys” of Trinamool Congress do not behave in future. At a rally, Ghosh had said that what happened in Sitalkuchi “was just the beginning”.
“Those who think that the central forces carry guns just for show are mistaken,” he had said. “If anyone takes law into his own hands, he will receive a befitting reply. Central forces will be deployed in booths. No one can scare you. We are there. And if anyone does, you saw what happened at Sitalkuchi. We will repeat the same everywhere.”
The Election Commission had claimed that the clashes took place after local residents attacked security forces due to a misunderstanding. It said that the forces had no alternative other than to open fire to save their lives and government property.
Banerjee, however, called the Cooch Behar incident “genocide” and accused the poll panel of “suppressing facts” related to the deaths.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Monday also barred Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours for violating the Model Code of Conduct with her comments allegedly asking voters to attack central security forces and for appealing to Muslims to vote against the BJP. She has staged a dharna in Kolkata against the poll panel’s “undemocratic and unconstitutional decision”.
Elections in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The results will be announced on May 2.