Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its concern over the statement issued by the Election Commission on “Election Commission’s decision on the report of two-member team sent to Paschim Medinipur District”. The team has reported about the complaint made by the CPI(M) on 6th April 2006. The Party had complained that police forces had raided the CPI(M) zonal office in Keshpur and the premises of one of its sympathizers under the instructions of the central observer Dr. Manmohan Singha.

The Polit Bureau is surprised to note that the conclusions of the enquiry conducted on the entire sequence of the raid and the role of the concerned observer does not tally with the facts revealed in the statement itself. Some of these are as follows:

The CPI(M) had complained that the observed had ordered the raid at the behest of some leaders of the All India Trinamul Congress. The statement says the following: “The observer then asked Shri Pramanik to meet him at 4 p.m at Circuit House and also told S.P. to arrange for necessary force for conducting the raids”. Shri Pramanik is the Trinamul Congress candidate for the Keshpur assembly constituency. It is not known what transpired in the meeting between the observer and Shri Pramanik. The Superintendent of Police was not even informed about the exact place to be raided. A blanket authorization for carrying out the raids was accorded to it in places where Shri Pramanik thought illegal arms could be recovered. On what basis can the Observer rely on Mr. Pramanik who is a candidate belonging to a rival party in the elections. Further, how could the police party be asked to act on the basis of the identifier supplied by Shri Pramanik.

The facts speak for themselves. The Observer for reasons not known relied exclusively on charges made by a candidate with vested interest in the elections. He did not ask the police authorities or the district administration first to verify whether these charges were true. Instead, as the Election Commission statement points out, the Observer told the SP to arrange for necessary forces and also at Shri Pramanik’s request for more police forces so that raids could be conducted simultaneously at many places.

It is also a fact that the raids produced “nil” seizure report which of course the statement does not find necessary to note. Further, the Commission has not taken note of the fact that the Trinamul Congress candidate had made false and malicious complaints.

There is a factual inaccuracy in the enquiry report. The raiding party consisted of a contingent of Punjab police also and was not exclusively of the state police as the report tries to make out. This is substantiated in a newspaper which is perceived to be highly critical of the CPI(M).

The CPI(M) regrets that the Commission has come to conclusions which are not borne out by the facts of the enquiry. To state that “distorted and unfounded allegations have been leveled against the Observer who performed his duty correctly and in right earnest” seems more a post facto defence for partisan behaviour.

The CPI(M) had made complaints regarding three other Observers about which the Commission has not responded. The way some Observers are behaving in ordering arrests, raids etc. show that they are arrogating executive powers to themselves. It is necessary for the Election Commission to clarify whether the Observers have executive powers under the present laws of the land to direct such raids.

Finally, all political parties must be concerned by the attitude adopted by the Commission which does not consider raids on the offices of a nationally recognized party instigated by electoral rivalry of an opposing candidate to be a serious matter.