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ECI might punish police personnel in charge of Mamata’s security for lapse in Nandigram, says official

By PTI Updated: Mar 12, 2021 5:29 pm
New Delhi: TMC MPs Saugata Roy, Derek O’Brie, Kakoli Ghosh and Satabdi Roy come out of the Nirvachan Sadan after meeting the Election Commission of India, in New Delhi, Friday, March 12, 2021. (PTI Photo/Atul Yadav)

Nandigram (WB), March 12 (PTI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) might punish police personnel in charge of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s security for a lapse leading to her injury during campaigning in Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district, a senior election official said on Friday.

The ECI is waiting for reports from the state government and the two observers appointed for the upcoming assembly elections before deciding on the punishment, he said.

“There was definitely a lapse on the part of the police personnel who were in charge of the chief minister’s security. Anyone shouldn’t penetrate the security circle around the CM. We are waiting for reports from the state government and the observers before taking a decision,” the ECI official told PTI.

In video grabs accessed by the ECI, it was found that several people got very close to the CM’s vehicle during her campaigning in Nandigram’s Birulia Bazar on Wednesday, he said.

“This should not have happened. In the video grabs that we have gone through, several people could be seen coming very close to the CM’s vehicle. It was a serious security breach,” he said.

The election official, however, said that the video footages were “not very clear to give a proper picture whether Banerjee was attacked as alleged by her”.

“We are waiting for the reports from the state government and the two observers. We cannot disclose our opinion in this context,” he said.

Banerjee has a ‘Z category’ security, with over 20 personnel including the elite SSW, IB, responsible for guarding her.

Meanwhile, officials of the Purba Medinipur district administration have spoken to several eyewitnesses of the incident, collected evidence from the site and gathered mobile phone footages, a senior official said.

“As of now, we are getting various versions from the people about the incident,” he said.

A senior state government official dismissed a buzz about the district administration submitting a “preliminary report” calling the incident an “accident”.

“Nothing of that sort has been submitted to us. We don’t know from where this theory has developed,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee injured during her campaign trial at Nandigram in Purba Medinipur on Wednesday.

Banerjee had fallen down and sustained injuries on her left leg and waist after she was allegedly pushed by unidentified people while she was campaigning in Nandigram assembly segment on Wednesday evening after filing her nomination from the constituency.

She was rushed to the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, where she is now undergoing treatment.

An FIR has been lodged with the Nandigram police station though nobody has been arrested so far.

The chief minister will contest her former aide and present BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in his home turf.

Elections to the 294-member assembly will be held from March 27 to April 29. Results will be declared on May 2.

By PTI Updated: Mar 12, 2021 5:29:28 pm