WB Assembly Election 2016
Memo to ECI on Bengal Elections
Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2016
We are herewith releasing two letters submitted to the Election Commission with regard to various concerns about the assembly elections in West Bengal.
(Hari Singh Kang)
For CPI(M) Central Committee Office
May 2, 2016
The Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
New Delhi 110 001
There has been widespread appreciation both among the people and among the media for the manner in which the polls were conducted in the fifth phase on April 30. This is, however, despite some problems in few ACs like Behala (East) and Canning (East). But the post-poll violence continues unabated, even leading to fatalities (Annexure I). A most obnoxious feature of these post-poll violence is that even children of the family are not being spared for their elders having gone to polling booths and exercise their franchise, despite the threats by the miscreants of the ruling party. The earlier pattern of violence being directed to opposition polling agents also continue.
It is our humble suggestion that abrupt withdrawal of the CAPF on the completion of the polling is being utilised by these miscreants; therefore, some post-poll security management planning also needs to be undertaken. Since the interregnum between the final phase of polling and the counting of votes is almost two weeks, special measures need to be planned and implemented.
We are hereby forwarding letters and material regarding the polls to be held in East Midnapur district on the May 5 (Annexure II). Importantly, these include certain specific details about police officials who continue to take a partisan attitude in favouring the ruling party, vulnerable booths and name of criminal miscreants with past records, constituency-wise. We also include details about the activities by TMC which is contrary to an violative of the existing directions of the ECI.
In our humble opinion, the following steps are necessary for ensuring free and fair polls in the district:
1. Section 144 should be strictly and properly executed in the ensuing poll in the two districts Coochbehar and Purba Medinipur.
2. Unlawful gathering by motorcycle borne political musclemen in the roads and by-lanes beyond 200 meters of booths in attempt to intimidate voters should be foiled. In previous phases it is to be pertained that though EC has tried their level best to foil those activities but the local Police authorities have failed to execute the EC order in many cases.
3. Unlawful gathering in Booth camps and surrounding places should be restricted.
4. Patrolling and route march of Central Forces to build up confidence level of common voters in all sensitive areas immediately should have to be ensured.
5. There are some serious possibilities of intrusion of outsiders well in advance in the aforesaid two districts with the intention to manipulate the entire vote. So all the Hotels, Tourist Lodges, Marriage Houses, Clubs, under-construction-buildings and Slum areas should be kept under serious vigil. The identity of the boarders should be checked properly.
6. Intimidating voters by snatching their EPICs 48 hours before the poll day in many places by the Political goons patronized by AITC is one of our unfortunate experiences in most of the previous phases of polling. So a serious intervention is required from the top level of the EC. EPICs and EC supplied photo voters slip should be checked properly.
7. Purba Midnipur has both coastal, riverine and land borders both inter-state and inter-district. This must be effectively sealed like in the earlier phases.
In a similar vein we append Annexure III which includes an exhaustive list of the constituencies of Coochbehar district which goes to polls on May 5 along with vulnerable booths and miscreants who might cause trouble. In this district as well border sealing, flag march and night vigil for confidence building among the voters is of paramount significance. Of the constituencies 269 Mathabhanga (SC) A/c has a border with Alipurdwar, 299 Sitalkuchi (SC) A/c has borders with Bangladesh and 252 Tufanganj (SC) has borders with Assam.
Member, Central Secretariat
May 3, 2016
Shri Nasim Zaidi
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road
New Delhi - 110001
I must concede that I was shocked to receive the Action Taken Report (ATR) [Annexure I] to my complaint addressed to you [Annexure II] on April 30, 2016.
The ATR from the South Kolkata DEO talks about the issues pertaining to my complaint not falling within its jurisdiction. This is bizarre, to say the least. Because, my complaint was not about jurisdiction but about the content of the speech of the AITC Chairperson and the Chief Minister of West Bengal and its violation of the MCC, as well as, it’s possible impact on the process of free and fair polls. The ATR, therefore, clearly attempted to obfuscate the essential thrust of the complaint under the guise of technicality. This is unacceptable.
More importantly, the absence of a strong deterrent in the form of a firm action against such violation has only emboldened her to launch a far strident broadside against the EC and the police officials who have acted under the directions of the EC to ensure free and fair polls. In fact, the result of the approach of the election authorities in West Bengal has led to her speech in Chandipur, in East Midnapore district which is going to polls on the last phase on May 5. We are forwarding the complaint by the West Bengal Left Front Committee [Annexure III] on the speech and the need for a strong action so that the dangerous possible impact on that days polling can be nullified. Equally, her speech has acted as a major instigation for post-poll violence in Kolkata and elsewhere. Obviously, this post-poll violence as we have, time and again, pointed out is, indeed, aimed at demoralizing the security arrangement and energise the miscreants of her party.
Member, Central Secretariat