West Bengal: In another controversy that emerged from the West Bengal elections on Saturday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released suggestive audio tapes targeting each other on allegations seeking help from the other side
It all started when the BJP released an audio of an alleged conversation between Mamta Bannerjee and TMC-turned-BJP leader Praloy Pal, in which she is reportedly trying to convince the saffron leader to rejoin the TMC to help her win the seat in Nandigram.
The Bengal chief minister is contesting from Nandigram, where she is up against Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, her protegee-turned-rival and former state cabinet minister. In the audio, Mamta is purportedly heard telling Pal “You should help us win Nandigram. Look, I know you have some grievances but that is mostly due to the Adhikaris and his younger brother, who never allowed me to get into Nandigram or East Mindapore. I will take care of everything henceforth”, reports Times of India.
However, Pal did not heed to her requests, and asserted that he would never betray the Adhikaris as they supported him through everything.
The BJP claimed that the clip was evidence of Mamta Bannerjee using her power as the Chief Minister to influence the outcome of the elections.
This claim was refuted by the TMC, who said that it could not be verified if it was really Mamta Bannerjee who was heard, and even if it was, there was nothing wrong with wooing back a former party member.
However, much later, the TMC also released a clip suggesting that the BJP was no less corrupt. The clip featured BJP Leader Mukul Roy where he can purportedly be heard speaking to BJP Leader and industrialist, and telling him how to influence the Election Commission.
He could reportedly be heard saying, “See, we have to include this point while meeting the EC. We have to say that this rule that polling agents can only be deputed in their localities should be changed. The only criteria should be that the person is a citizen of the state. The BJP won’t be able to have its agents in a large number of booths otherwise.”
TMC spokesperson stated that this tape exposes the “nexus” between BJP and the Election Commission. Reacting to the leaked audio and the TMC’s allegations, Union Home Minister said, “Nothing secretive in what was said in the tape. We have made those demands in writing. The question here is who tapped the call?”
The high profile Nandigram election will take place in the second phase of the election, which is set to begin on 1st April.