Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Malviya on Saturday shared several clips of Mamata Banerjee’s polls strategist Prashant Kishor, following which a row has erupted. In the audio clip, Kishor could be heard saying the internal survey of Trinamool Congress (TMC) is showing that the saffron party is winning the assembly elections.
“In a public chat on Club House, Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist concedes that even in TMC’s internal surveys, BJP is winning. The vote is for Modi, polarisation is a reality, the SCs (27% of WB’s population), Matuas are all voting for the BJP!” tweeted Malviya.
In the audio clips, Prashant Kishor went on to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hugely popular in West Bengal and there is a cult around him across the country.
“There is anti-incumbency against TMC, polarisation is a reality, SC votes is a factor plus BJP’s election machinery, says Mamata Banerjee’s strategist in an open chat,” he added.
Reacting to this, Kishor said, “I am glad BJP guys are taking my clubhouse chat more seriously than the words or their own leaders. With regards to the selective and distorted use of part of the conversation, I urge them to release the full conversation.”
Polling underway in Bengal
Polling began at 7 am on Saturday for 44 seats in the fourth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections amid tight security, officials said. Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in nine seats in Howrah district, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly, they said.
Long queues were seen outside polling stations where voting will continue till 6.30 pm.
Over 1.15 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 373 candidates, including Union minister Babul Supriyo and state ministers Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas.
Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting, with 789 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) being deployed to guard 15,940 polling stations.
At least 187 companies of CAPF, the highest deployment of forces among poll-bound districts in the phase, are in Cooch Behar, which has witnessed sporadic incidents of violence, including an attack on BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, in the run-up to the elections.
State police forces have also been deployed at strategic locations to aid the central forces.
Elections for the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2.