“Want to know how the leak happened”

AMit Shah said there was nothing secret in two BJP leaders speaking over a phone call.

New Delhi:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah today said he would like to know how a alleged recording of a phone call involving BJP leader Mukul Roy was leaked yesterday. The conversation implied that he could influence the Election Commission amid the ongoing polls in West Bengal. Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, Mr Shah also expressed confidence in the BJP’s stellar performance in the first phase of polls which concluded yesterday.

“Two BJP leaders were discussing over a phone call the demands made for transfer (of officers). These demands were made in writing. There is nothing secret in this. The question which needs to be raised is that who tapped the phone call,” Mr Shah said.

The alleged phone conversation between Mr Roy and the BJP’s Shishir Bijoria was yesterday released by the Trinamool, potentially damaging the opposition party and hurting the non-partisan position of the Election Commission. Mr Roy is allegedly heard asking Mr Bijoria to include a list of items to be raised with the poll panel, with one specific request being about polling agents or booth agents of political parties.

Mr Roy then apparently says that the poll body ought to be requested to pass administrative orders permitting any voter anywhere in Bengal to be booth agents at any booth in the state, and that if this was not done, the BJP won’t be able to field agents in many booths.

Mr Shah today said the BJP would win 26 of the 30 seats polled in Bengal yesterday, whereas for Assam, he pegged it at 37 out of the 47. 

He congratulated the Election Commission for successfully holding peaceful polls in West Bengal after years. “It is after years that polling has been completed without anyone dying, any bomb blasts, or repolling…the BJP will form a government in West Bengal with over 200 seats,” Mr Shah said.  

The first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections saw an estimated 79.79 per cent voter turnout.

The remaining seven phases for the 294-member Assembly will be held on various dates with the final round of voting scheduled on April 29. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.

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