The Trinamool Congress has written to the Election Commission seeking action against the BJP for allegedly recording and leaking an audio clip of party leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s conversation with Trinamool candidate Partha Pratim Ray.
Ms Banerjee’s purported conversation in the audio clip with Mr Ray sparked a controversy after Ms Banerjee was allegedly heard asking her party’s Sitalkuchi candidate to hold rallies with the bodies of four people killed in firing by security forces on April 10.
Ms Banerjee’s party has hit out at the BJP, claiming the rival party distorted the content of the audio clip to spread disinformation.
“It is unprecedented that a Chief Minister’s phone has been intercepted at BJP’s behest and leaked one day before polls,” the Trinamool said in the letter signed by party leaders Yashwant Sinha, Derek O’Brien and Purnendu Basu.
“The said conversation has been illegally and unlawfully recorded by and/or at the behest of BJP and played by the BJP in complete violation of the Constitution, Indian Telegraph Act, Information Technology Act, and Indian Penal Code,” the Trinamool said.
“The audiotape… was released and played by the BJP at their office during a press conference in the presence of BJP IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya and MP Locket Chatteree,” the Trinamool said.
Citing the purported audio clip between Ms Banerjee and Mr Ray, Mr Malviya had said the “Chief Minister is trying to instigate riots by asking her party leaders to take out rallies with bodies.”
BJP chief JP Nadda on Friday tweeted the audio clip, along with a direct attack on the Trinamool. “TMC signifies VULTURE CULTURE- of feasting on death for petty political gains. TMC should be ashamed of themselves,” Mr Nadda tweeted.
TMC signifies VULTURE CULTURE- of feasting on death for petty political gains.
TMC should be ashamed of themselves. https://t.co/7X3idhNByP
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) April 16, 2021
Four people were killed in firing by security forces after violence broke out at a polling booth at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district when voting was going on in the fourth of the eight-phase Bengal election.
Ms Banerjee today said she will order a probe by the CID into alleged phone-tapping. “They (BJP leaders) are even eavesdropping on our everyday conversation. It seems they are tapping our phone calls on cooking and other household chores,” Ms Banerjee said at a rally in Galsi, news agency PTI reported.
“I will order a CID probe into the issue. I will not spare anyone involved in such snooping activities. I have already come to know who is behind this,” she said. “It is clear that the BJP is behind it though they claimed they have no role in it,” she said.
The Trinamool’s Sitalkuchi candidate called the audio clip “bogus”. “Such a conversation never took place. This audio clip is totally bogus. The BJP is just trying to confuse people before the fifth phase of polling,” Mr Ray said.
Trinamool MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said the BJP is trying to spread misinformation. “The lies factory manager doesn’t understand Bengali and no one translated the conversation for him correctly. There is nothing wrong in the conversation between the party leader and her district leader.”
Over a crore voters are deciding the winners and losers from a pool of 342 candidates today as they vote in 45 assembly constituencies in the fifth phase. Some key candidates in this phase are Siliguri mayor and Left Front leader Ashok Bhattacharya, state ministers Gautam Deb and Bratya Basu, and BJP’s Samik Bhattacharya.
With inputs from PTI