Hundreds of people turned up at Jantar Mantar in Delhi today responding to the call given by the Left parties to register their protest at the widespread violence, terror and rigging in the elections to the Lok Sabha elections from West Bengal.

Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the Election Commission of disregarding the repeated complaints made by the Left Front and the CPI(M) demanding timely intervention to stop the electoral process in the state from becoming a complete mockery. He lamented the fact that despite the Party demanding re-poll in many affected booths in the last three phases of the polls in the state, the Election Commission has not ordered repoll in 3,200  booths where polling was rigged.

This happened despite the polling process being vitiated with largescale intimidation of voters, terrorisation and even firing upon voters. Though the media, both print and electronic, in West Bengal has reported these incidents widely, the Election Commission is yet to take cognisance of it. Pointing out that the Election Commission has still time before the counting takes place on May 16, he remarked that the people will lose faith in the electoral process if it does not order repoll in the affected booths thereby restoring the confidence of people.

Recalling the rigged elections to the West Bengal assembly in 1972, the CPI(M) General Secretary was categorical that like in 1977 when the authoritarian forces were defeated, Bengal will repeat history again. Bombs and bullets, Prakash Karat said will not deter the people. The Left has a history of struggles and sacrifices. Hundreds of its cadres have sacrificed their lives in the cause of the movement. Such attacks will not deter them. Expressing support and solidarity with the people of Bengal in the face of these attacks, Prakash Karat said the Left and democratic people in the entire country stood behind them in the struggle to restore democracy in the state.

Terming it as an attack on democracy, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Sitaram Yechury said that if the Election Commission is unable to perform the constitutional duty vested in its office, it has no right to remain in office.  He said the Election Commission is bestowed with the duty of conducting a free and fair elections. Accusing the ECI of its failure in performing this duty, he said by its actions,  the faith of the people in such constitutional institutions has been undermined.

Sitaram Yechury however said that it is not the first time that this attack on democracy has taken place in West Bengal. This he warned is a precursor to what the entire country will face tomorrow. Sitaram reminded that when attack on democracy took place in 1972 other democratic forces in the country did not rise to the occasion. It was only after the internal emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 the country woke up to its perils and the authoritarian forces were defeated in 1977. But, in the meanwhile, thousands of people lost their lives in the concerted attacks against the party and thousands of others were thrown out of their homes.

He accused the media of partisan portrayal of the events. The media, he said,  accused the Left of being paid back by the TMC, using Left’s own tactics. Had the Left been indulging in rigging in all these elections, Sitaram said, Mamata Banerjee would not have come to power at all in the first place.

The Red Flag, he said will be in the forefront of the struggle to restore democracy and that the people of the country will not accept this mockery of democracy.
Veteran CPI leader, A.B. Bardhan speaking on the occasion reiterated the demand for repoll in all the booths for which repoll had been demanded by the Left parties. CPI General Secretary, S. Sudhakar Reddy narrating the various malpractices and incidents of violence indulged in during the elections said that while genuine voters were prevented from proceeding to the booths to cast their votes, there were largescale complaints of bogus voting. He termed this as an attack on democracy and wondered why the Election Commission is not taking remedial action. Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas and RSP Central Committee member Dagar also spoke on the occasion. Polit Bureau members S. Ramachandran Pillai, Brinda Karat and A.K. Padmanabhan along with many members of the Central Committee also participated in the dharna.
May 14, 2014