New Delhi/Kolkata, March 9 (IANS) The Left parties on Wednesday met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and demanded strong action against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for “threatening the voters” in the upcoming state assembly poll during a television interview last week.
Submitting a video CD of the interview given by Banerjee to private Bengali channel 24 Ghanta, hours after the announcement of the election schedule by the commission on March 4, the two-member Left delegation termed as “outrageously shocking” her comments that only her administration, and not the central security forces, will be there after the polls to provide security to the people.
“What is outrageously shocking is, as if on cue and in response to the official announcement about the security arrangement, she brazenly threatened the voters of intimidation.
“She candidly stated that there will be no central security force in the state after the polls are over and it will be she alone and her administration which will be around!,” the delegation comprising Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India secretary D. Raja said in a memorandum submitted to Zaidi in the meeting in the national capital.
“Whatever reassurances to the voters were communicated through the commission’s decision, in terms of creating a fear-free environment for the voters was sought to be immediately nullified.
“The commission ought to examine this video and take strong action to reassure the voters once again that the model code of conduct does not allow for such blatant threatening to influence the electoral outcome,” the memorandum said.
The two leaders also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of asking “electoral favours” from clubs which have received government grant.
Claiming that the state government had spent Rs.270 crore on the grant, the memorandum alleged that top Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhayaya had asked the beneficiary clubs to “take up the challenge of the coming elections and ensure the stupendous victory of the Trinamool”.
“What he was insisting on was the principle of quid pro quo. This was plain and simple asking electoral favour for the Trinamool in return of tax payers’ money.”
Alleging that the clubs will be used as bodies for influencing the election, the two leaders urged the poll panel to put the clubs on its ‘special watch list’ and take “pre-emptive steps to stop the possibility of any foul play”.