Raiganj: Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Friday asked party workers and leaders in North Dinajpur to form “vigilance squads” – teams of youths in each booth across rural areas of the district – ahead of the panchayat elections to keep watch on voters and counter any intimidation or attacks by rivals.
“Our workers should be vigilant and start monitoring the movement of people in their areas. Squads comprising local youths should be formed in each booths to counter any threat or attack. The team should start working at least a fortnight ahead of the panchayat elections. They should be on alert round the clock to prevent entry of outsiders in their localities ahead and during the polls,” Ghosh said. The poll dates are likely to be announced soon amid indications that voting could be held in May.
Speaking at a party workers’ meet in the Raiganj Institute Hall, Ghosh said the formation of such teams would help bolster the confidence of supporters as well as common people.
Ghosh claimed Trinamul was “feeling insecure” because of the rise of the BJP and accused the ruling party of using police and cadres to thwart the BJP’s participation in the panchayat polls.
“That is why, we need such squads. If required, local leaders should also form teams of women workers and supporters to stand by the common people so that they do not feel threatened. The women teams will also be assigned the responsibility to keep close watch on the poll day to ensure voters turn up at the booth safely and can exercise their franchise without any pressure. They will also see it to it that there is no problem in booths,” said Ghosh.
Such instructions from the state BJP chief were seen as a clear indication that the party is not ready to leave any space for Trinamool and other parties, Trinamool insiders said.
The leader pointed out that in the rural polls, candidates vying for seats in the two lower tiers – panchayat and panchayat samiti – were often forced to withdraw their nominations. “The squads would be formed to prevent any such attempts by the Trinamool, particularly because its leaders have been speaking of ‘Opposition-free panchayats,” the leader added.