Left leaders from West Bengal on Thursday asked the Election Commission to take speedy steps to ensure free and fair general elections in the State, charging the ruling Trinamool Congress with organising attacks on, intimidating Left activists and indulging in poll malpractices.
Seeking the EC’s urgent intervention to restore normalcy in affected areas across the State, they said they informed the poll panel of their “grave apprehension of another all-out attack before the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.”
The leaders, including Sitaram Yechury, Biman Basu (CPI (M)), Kshiti Goswami (former State Minister and RSP leader), Barun Mukherjee (Forward Bloc) and Swapan Banerjee (CPI), met Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum detailing the “fast deteriorating” law and order situation in the State.
The Left Front alleged that 142 of its cadres were killed since Trinamool Congress took over in West Bengal in 2011, over 7,500 grievously injured and hospitalised in these attacks, 47,000 evicted from their homes, 5,547 houses of supporters and 2,470 party offices ransacked, burnt down and looted.
The parties alleged that incidents of rape and molestation of women supporters were 1,865, while over 27,000 cases were of eviction of poor share-croppers, who had got land in the land reforms process carried out earlier by the Left Front.
“If the general elections are held in such circumstances, as witnessed in the recent panchayat and local bodies’ polls, then free and fair elections in 2014 is impossible,” Left Front Chairman Biman Basu said.
“Trinamool is doing everything to ensure that no opposition voice is ever heard in West Bengal,” Mr. Mukherjee said, while Mr. Goswami accused Trinamool Congress of “butchering democratic traditions” in the State.
Mr. Yechury said the Election Commission’s attention was also drawn towards the “improper and partisan” attitude of the State Election Commission, which “appears to be functioning under intimidation by the State government and hence unable to discharge its proper role as an independent body.”
The issue of ‘paid news’ and instances of Trinamool Congress’ “brazen” attempts to focus on their candidates was also raised through the memorandum.
The Left parties had on Wednesdsay organised a day-long dharna in New Delhi and met President Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the prevailing situation in West Bengal.