The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Election Commission has announced a two-phase poll in Gujarat on December 11 and 16. The Chief Election Commissioner should clarify the following:
1. Why does Gujarat which has seen largescale communal violence and an atmosphere of intimidation of minorities require only a two phase polling when in May 2006 assembly elections in Kerala a three phase polling was ordered? Kerala had always had only one-day polling with no history of poll violence and malpractice.
2. In West Bengal not only was there an unprecedented five phase polling but the Election Commission made efforts to bring in polling personnel from outside the state. The reason ostensibly being that the government employees of the state have political affiliations. Is it the Commission’s contention that in Gujarat the RSS and its outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are not entrenched among government employees. One has only to recall the circular earlier issued by the state government permitting government employees to participate in RSS activities.
3. The Commission had violated federal norms to decide that state police cannot be deployed in polling booths in West Bengal and only central paramilitary forces undertake duties. Why is it that the Commission has not considered this step in Gujarat where the communal bias of certain sections of the police are well known and documented.
The Chief Election Commissioner would do well to enlighten the country why different yardsticks are being applied?