“Commission letters drafted in the office of a political party”

In a direct attack on the State Election Commission, all-India general secretary of the Trinamool Congress Mukul Roy alleged here on Friday that the letters written by the Commission are being drafted in the office of “a political party”, implying that the party concerned is the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

He also questioned the amendment to the West Bengal Panchayat Act, 2003, in 2010 when the Left Front was in power extending the tenure of the State Election Commissioner from three to six years.

The remark was in obvious reference to the present State Election Commissioner Mira Pande whom Mr Roy had earlier accused of a political bias and delaying the certain defeat of the CPI(M) in the rural polls.

Accusing the State Election Commission of delaying the rural polls, Mr Roy said that the State Government had wanted the polls to be held in February to which the Commission did not agree.

Stating that there is a “conspiracy” to delay the panchayat elections, he said that there has been a sharp decline in the support of both the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress. “The delay in holding the polls is to postpone the certain defeat of these parties in the polls for as long as possible”.

“The longer the delay the higher the temperature when the polls are held …. If 10-12 people die during the polls will the State Election Commission take responsibility?” Mr Roy asked, his argument being that midsummer is not the most convenient of times for elections.

Referring to the Act where it is stated that the State Government will issue notification for the polls in “consultation” with the State Election Commission he said, “Consultation does not mean concurrence.”

On being asked about the State Election Commissioner Mira Pande meeting Governor M. K. Narayanan, Mr. Roy said that that she can meet him over the issue but added that “the Governor has no role to play in the matter”.

Reiterating that the State Government has acted within its boundaries while announcing the schedule, Mr Roy said that the other Constitutional bodies must not exceed their jurisdiction as well. The standoff between the State Government and the Commission over the rural polls has been dragging on. The Trinamool Congress leadership has accused the Commission of “exceeding its jurisdiction” and its leaders including Mr Roy have neither spared the State Election Commissioner in their attacks.