From India News Network (INN)
New Delhi, April 15: A delegation of the CPI(M) led by Shri. Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, consisting of Shri. Nilotpal Basu, member of the Polit Bureau and Shri. Shankar Prasad Datta, CPI(M) candidate for the West Tripura parliamentary constituency met Chief Election Commissioner today. The delegation submitted two memorandums - one demanding re-poll in 464 booths in West Tripura constituency and conducting of free and fair election in East Tripura parliamentary constituency and the other pertaining to the issue of violation of the Model Code of Conduct and conducting of free and fair elections in West Bengal.
We are releasing the text of both the memorandums for publication.
Text of memorandum related to Tripura
Dear Shri. Arora ji,
With a sense of deep anguish and disappointment, we are forced to draw your attention to the gross irregularities and to a large extent undermining of the process of free and fair polls held on 11th April for the 1-Tripura West parliamentary constituency.
We are attaching herewith copies of detailed communications with the Commission flagging the nature of irregularities that could affect normal polling. However, all these forewarnings have gone begging. The agreement reached on 6th March in our meeting with the full Commission on deployment of the central forces for security of the booths and for the opposition polling agents and route marches for instilling a sense of confidence among the common voters have remained conspicuous in its non-implementation on the ground. Even the security of the two CPI(M) candidates could not be ensured.
We hereby attach a set of annexures which include representation from the CPI(M) candidate for the West Tripura parliamentary constituency, Shri. Shankar Prasad Datta. We have also attached a large number of statements by polling agents who were appointed by the chief electoral agent for Shri Shankar Prasad Datta to the effect that they were forcibly disallowed from performing their legally ordained responsibility. We have reports that in a large number of booths, the facility for CC TV coverage and live video streaming were disabled to wipe out the evidence of the large scale hooliganism and wrongdoing.
But, above all, what was on evidence on 11th April was a complete absence of central para-military forces to ensure the conduct of a free and fair poll. Therefore, we strongly urge that the Commission conducts re-poll for the 464 booths in which the elections were completely rigged, the specific booth numbers and assembly constituency segments have been already made available for the Commission.
The candidate Shri Shankar Prasad Datta had already demanded the video recordings of large number of booths which will conclusively establish the nature and extent of wrongdoings. But, for these corrective measures, we will be inclined to infer that the assurances given to us by the Election Commission of India for conducting free and fair polls in the state, which in any case is the Constitutional responsibility under Article 324 of the Constitution. We would further infer that through its non-action the Commission has been active to facilitate this wrongdoing by the ruling party and its goons.
In the light of what had happened in 11 April, we are attaching herewith a number of representations from Shri. Jitendra Choudhary, the CPI(M) candidate for 2-Tripura East parliamentary constituency with very specific suggestions. He has already cautioned the central police observers and the Returning Officer on these measurers which needs to be undertaken. These include:
1. Massive patrolling may be conducted in all sensitive Polling Station areas till the evening of 17th April as confidence building measures for the voters.
2. All FIR named persons, who are involved into the pre-poll violence should immediately be arrested and detained till the process of the election is over.
3. All Polling Stations under the Constituency should be manned by central forces only and minimum strength should not be not less than 7(seven).
4. More than 3(three) Patrolling Vehicles manned by central forces should be deployed in all sensitive sectors.
5. In no case, unauthorised persons and voters concerned in the queue should be allowed to enter into the polling stations, which has happened rampantly in many booths on 11th April.
6. The flying squads of ECI and Patrolling Vehicles should ensure safe reporting and return of the Polling Agents of the Contesting Candidates, wherever asked for.
7. No outsiders, if not voter of that particular booth or who had already cast his/her vote should not be allowed to enter the cordoned areas of the Polling Stations.
8. To check the movement of more than 2(two) motor cycles together and totally banning outsiders after 5.00 pm.
We urge you with all the strength that we command that the Election Commission of India is an institution which has over the years evolved as the principal bulwark for protecting the parliamentary democracy enshrined in our Constitution. The people of Tripura and that of the country fervently hope that independent role of the Election Commission of India should not get discredited.
(Sitaram Yechury) (Nilotpal Basu)
General Secretary Member, Polit Bureau
Text of memorandum related to West Bengal
Dear Shri Arora ji,
We have already brought to your notice that in West Bengal there is an acute deficit of trust in public perception about the impartiality of the state administration in the conduct of free and fair polls. In order to further underline the seriousness of the question, it is necessary to draw your attention that large number of officials who were allotted polling duty had collectively aired their concern for their own safety and security and insisted on the presence of central security forces for ensuring this. It assumed the proportion of near rebellion which could be finally contained by specific written assurance from Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state.
However, the actual experience of holding election on the 11th April for the two constituencies of Alipurduar ST and Coochbehar belied the hope that the common voters had invested in the Election Commission of India (ECI). Again, as in the case of Tripura, the conspicuous absence of the central security forces, both in creating a sense of confidence and ensuring free and fair polls on the polling day was largely visible.
Therefore, we are attaching herewith a set of documents which contain information on some of the compelling concerns. The specific issues that need to be drawn attention to is the instances of attacks on the security and opportunity of trouble free campaigning of at least four CPI(M) and Left candidates, Shri. Gauranga Chatterjee in Asansol Parliamentary Constituency, Dr. Faud Halim in Diamond Harbour PC, Shri. Pallav Sen Gupta in Basirhat PC, and Dr. Rizawul Kareem in Birbhoom PC. In all these cases, surprisingly, the security for the candidates were not to be seen neither was the facility of videography of the campaign trial of the candidate in evidence.
The CPI(M) had already brought to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of West Bengal that contractual employees who are largely dependent on the whims and fancies of the state ruling party ought not to be deployed for polling duty. Unfortunately, this has also not been taken cognizance of. As part of the Annexures, we are also furnishing the details of a large number of booths in Raiganj PC which need special attention and manning by the central forces for the sake of holding free and fair poll.
Finally, as we are to inform that, similar to the complaint that we had to launch on the biopic of Shri. Narendra Modi, we are drawing your attention to the unlawful circulation of the trailer of the biopic of Smt. Mamata Banerjee, Chief of the All India Trinamool Congress and Chief Minister of West Bengal in a flagrant violation of Model Code of Conduct.
We hope that the Commission will act on these issues with the urgency they demand.
(Sitaram Yechury) (Nilotpal Basu)
General Secretary Member, Polit Bureau