In run-up, Mamata slammed Central forces, urged voters to ‘gherao’ them

THE death of four people in firing by the CISF in “self-defence”, during polling in Cooch Behar in north Bengal on Saturday, comes after days of trading of charges between the Trinamool and BJP over the presence of Central forces for the elections.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly accused the Central forces of acting at the behest of the Centre (read the BJP) and of atrocities. She has even urged people to “gherao” the forces if they see any “wrongdoing”. The BJP, including Home Minister Amit Shah, has repeatedly stressed their “patriotism”. Senior Trinamool leader and minister Rabindranath Ghosh on Friday told voters to go to polling booths with lathis, to guard against the CRPF “creating disturbance”.

The Bengal government has been attacking the forces since they arrived in the state before the declaration of the poll schedule, and the criticism continued until end of campaigning for the fourth phase Saturday. The Election Commission had served a notice on Banerjee for her “prima facie completely false, provocative and intemperate statements” against the Central forces, and in her reply Saturday she stood by her remarks.

On April 7, addressing a meeting in the Cooch Behar Uttar Assembly seat, Banerjee said: “CRPF jadi gondogol kore, oder gherao kore rakhben. Ek dal gherao korben, aar ek dal vote dite jaben. Vote ta kintu nosto korbe na, tahole ora moja peye jabe. Etai oder chal (If the CRPF creates disturbance, gherao…

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