Mamata virtually holds EC responsible for party workers’ killings

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Lalgarh/Kolkata, March 25 (IANS) Claiming that eight of her party workers were murdered by the CPI-M supporters in seven days, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday virtually held the Election Commission (EC) responsible for political killings.

Her close lieutenant and Trinamool vice president Mukul Roy too echoed the party supremo and even threatened to bring the bodies to the EC office here if the killings of Trinamool workers did not stop.

Banerjee said: “Now that elections have been declared, police are under the Election Commission. The EC is keeping a watch on police. Now the EC is looking after law and order. In the past seven days, eight Trinamool Congress workers were killed by the CPI-M.”

“Who has given the right to the CPI-M to kill? They are murdering every day,” Banerjee said while addressing an election rally in this Maoist belt of West Midnapore district.

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Banerjee said her government had stopped political killings.

“I didn’t allow political killings. In the past, the maximum number of political killings used to take place in Bengal. 55,000 people were murdered during the rule of the CPI-M (which spearheaded the Left Front government from 1977 to 2011),” she said.

Banerjee said tit-for-tat for political murders and vendetta had no place in her party, but urged Trinamool workers to be on their guard as they could come under attack during the elections.

“Please be on your guard during this period. Don’t be afraid.”

In an obvious reference to the EC machinery, Banerjee said: “Some may feel, during the elections, they can threaten, intimidate. Let them. Be with the people, the voters.”

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“If somebody from outside tries to boss around, tries to intimidate you, don’t be afraid. They are here today, won’t be there after a few days. But you have to live in your locality in peace,” she said.

Banerjee said: “I am not dead. Trinamool is there. As long as I live, I will be with you, and fight for you.”

Roy, who called on the chief electoral officer in Kolkata during the day to lodge a complaint about the “killings” of party workers, was more direct in training his guns on the EC.

“We have come here to protest against the murders. We have told the Election Commission to initiate proper steps. Law and order is in your (EC) hands. Six of our workers have been killed.

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“If a murder or any other untoward incident happens, the responsibility is yours. A Trinamool party office has also been burnt. Will the EC take responsibility?”

“From now on, even if one worker of our party is killed, we will bring the dead body to the Election Commission office.”

Since the day the elections were declared, Banerjee has been up in arms against the EC.

She has termed the staggered six-phase election schedule with seven polling dates a “result of the stepmotherly” attitude towards the state.

After the Commission cracked the whip and issued a spate of transfer orders of top police and district administration officials, Mamata wondered whether the poll panel would tap into votes from the electorate “on behalf of the BJP and the CPI-M”.

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