Just after the expiry of 72 hours long ban by the Election Commission on the entry of politicians into Cooch Behar, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday (April 14) visited Sitalkuchi Assembly segment of the district and met the family members of the four victims who were gunned down by the Central Industrial Security Force personnel during the fourth phase of polling on April 10.
She shared grief with the family members and assured that she would see to it that the guilty persons are punished.
All the four victims came from Muslim community, who were protesting outside booth number 126 after a CISF jawan reportedly thrashed a 14-year old class-VIII boy whose mother had gone inside to cast her vote. The boy collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital.
The killing evoked widespread criticism from the Trinamool Congress and several civil society groups. As if that was not enough a senior state BJP leader, Rahul Sinha, said why the CISF shot only four people and why not eight. The Election Commission banned him from campaigning for 48 hours.
The EC also sent a notice to the state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh for his statement that Sitalkuchi type incident can be repeated elsewhere too.
Mamata took time off to rush to Cooch Behar as on April 12 the EC imposed a 24-hour ban on her from campaigning.
The killing of four persons in Cooch Behar and subsequent action against Mamata had put the EC and the BJP on the backfoot.
Political observers are of the view that apart from the killings the utterances by Rahul Sinha and Dilip Ghosh may seriously damage the poll prospects of the BJP in West Bengal. Those voters who were showing indifference towards the whole poll process may now shift towards the Trinamool Congress. The ban imposed on Mamata Banerjee by the EC may also work against the saffron party.