Kolkata, April 4: Central forces were accused of remaining largely inactive during the first of the seven-phase election that started in West Bengal on Monday (April 4) although the Election Commission had promised to take a strict stand ahead of the polling.
Local media reports said the central personnel showed little urgency even as supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), polling officials 'influenced' by it and state police personnel called the shots inside the booths.
It was said the EC received nearly 200 complaints of poll rules being violated during the first four hours after polling started. While state police officers were seen monitoring the election procedure in some booths, presiding officers were seen directing the voters while casting ballots in others. In Balarampur constituency in Purulia district, the presiding officer of a booth was removed for alleged interference in the voters' exercising their franchise.
In some places, the central forces were even seen shopping, resting the shade or buying vegetables from the market.
In Salboni constituency in West Midnapore, CPI(M) candidate Shyam Pandey alleged the TMC supporters removed the Left's polling agent from eight booths.
In Ranibandh constituency in Bankura, local people said they did not see any central personnel in the area during the day even as the EC had promised to focus on it.