Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday sought Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation over firing by central forces at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar, killing five people.
Five people were killed, including four in the firing by CISF personnel, during the fourth phase of polling on Saturday for 44 assembly seats of West Bengal, triggering a political firestorm.
Banerjee, speaking at a public meeting at Baduria in North 24 Parganas, said she would be leaving for Cooch Behar after attending rallies, and would visit spot where central forces opened fire during polling.
Appealing to people to remain calm, Banerjee alleged that central policemen shot dead people standing in a queue to vote and demanded “Shah should resign” owing responsibility for the incident “which is dastardly, cold-blooded and unprecedented”.
She said TMC would bring out protest rallies throughout the state on Sunday and asked party activists to wear black badges and peacefully protest the killings from 2 pm to 4 pm.
Earlier speaking at Hingalganj, the chief minister claimed “the central forces opened fire on people standing in a queue to vote, killing 4 in Sitalkuchi.”
She said she had long apprehended that the forces’ would act in such a manner. “As BJP knows it has lost the people’s mandate, they are conspiring to kill people,” Banerjee added.
She alleged this was part of a conspiracy hatched by the Union home minister.
“However, I would ask everyone to remain calm and cast their vote peacefully. Avenge the deaths by defeating them,” she said.
Banerjee said that the death toll in this election was far higher than that in the Panchayat elections held three years ago. “If you count the total number of killings since the elections began some 17-18 persons were killed. At least 12 people belonged to our party alone.”
Banerjee said the EC too owed the people an explanation on today’s incident.
“We are not in charge of the administration. The EC is in charge of administration,” she pointed out.
West Bengal registered a voter turnout of 76.16 per cent till 5 pm during the fourth phase of polling on Saturday in 44 assembly constituencies spread across five districts, a senior official in the CEO’s office said.The fourth phase was marred by incidents of poll-related violence, including attacks on candidates and a violent clash between security forces and locals.
West Bengal had registered 84.13 per cent voting in the first, 86.11 per cent in the second and 84.61 per cent in the third phase of polling, data by the CEO’s office said.
The result of the 44 seats will be declared along with 250 others of the state on May 2.