EC orders constant watch, videography on Trinamool’s Mondal

Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) A day after assuring “urgent legal action” against Trinamool Congress Birbhum district chief Anubrata Mondal, the Election Commission on Friday ordered the controversial leader’s movements be kept under “constant watch” during the entire West Bengal assembly poll period.

“Commission has directed CEO of West Bengal that movement and election related activities of Mondal, district president of Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district, during entire election period should be kept under constant watch and shall invariably be videographed with date and time stamping,” an official said.

“The team constituted for this purpose should comprise CPF (central police force) personnel under a local magistrate,” the official said .

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Thursday had said the poll panel would take “urgent legal action” following threats by Mondal that the opposition would “vanish” on the day of the polls there (April 17). The opposition parties as also the civil society members had sought Mondal’s arrest to create a conducive atmosphere for holding free and fair polls.

“In the interest of conducting free, fair and peaceful election in Birbhum district, the president of the ruling party Anubrata Mondal must immediately be arrested,” said a memorandum submitted by a group of eminent persons including former Supreme Court judge Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Akademi Award winning poet Sankha Ghosh, human rights activists and leading cultural personalities.

Mondal said he had no idea why the Election Commission has taken the decision.

“I respect the Election Commission. I am yet to get any papers about the order. Law will run its course.”

He said he would step out of his house on Saturday and visit Trinamool offices.

“Campaigning is over. I will step out of my house on Saturday, I will go to our party offices. I don’t know why it has been done. On what grounds has the Election Commission put me under watch?

“I haven’t beaten, killed or abducted anybody. Those who complained against me can only say.”

The opposition parties have for the last three years been blaming Mondal for the political violence in Birbhum district.

On Friday, they welcomed the EC decision.

BJP candidate from Mayureshwar in Birbhum, Locket Chatterjee said it was victory of the people. “This is particularly a triumph for women he has shown disrespect. I hope peace will now prevail on the polling day”.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose said this will improve the situation. “He (Mondal) was crushing all democratic traditions under his feet..but we have to wait and see. He can still use his phone to disturb the poll process.”

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said while it was a welcome development, the EC needs to take more firm steps.

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