The Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal, the state due for elections in April, has accused the Mamata Banerjee government of gathering details of police personnel to ‘enable collection of postal ballot and effect proxy votes.’ The allegation was made in a letter written on Monday, by a delegation of BJP leaders, to Kolkata Police Commissioner.

“BJP writes to Commissioner of Police, Kolkata on the nefarious attempts being made to collect details of police personnel and list them for postal ballots… It also points out how TMC leaders made serving police personnel, in brazen violation of norms, swear allegiance to TMC!” tweeted Amit Malviya, national in-charge of BJP’s Information and Technology department.

Among the signatories to the letter are BJP’s Rajya Sabha lawmaker Swapan Dasgupta, MLA Sabhyasachi Dutta and Shishir Bajoria. The BJP and the West Bengal ruling party, Trinamool Congress, are engaged in a fierce battle for the upcoming elections to the 294-member state assembly. Enthused by its 2019 Lok Sabha gains — where the saffron party took its seat count from 2 to 18 — the BJP is aggressively campaigning to make inroads.

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Naming the officers involved in the exercise to collect Aadhaar and voter details of police personnel, the leaders alleged, “the sole purpose of this is to enable collection of postal ballot of all concerned and to effect proxy votes. This is highly irregular act and also amounts to taking away… the fundamental right to vote.”

The signatories alleged that at a recent meeting in Kolkata, many police personnel were seen owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress. They sought immediate suspension of the ‘said officers’.

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West Bengal will vote in eight phases from March 27 and the votes will be counted on May 2. Reacting to the staggered poll dates, Mamata Banerjee had said, “Has this been done with the advice of Modi and Amit Shah? Has this been done to facilitate their campaigning so that they can finish Assam and Tamil Nadu before coming to Bengal? This won’t help BJP. We will demolish them.”