[CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury met the Chief Election Commissioner today to relate some experiences of polling in West Bengal Assembly elections so far and to underline certain urgent measures to be initiated to improve the quality of free and fair polls in the remaining two phases. The text of the memorandum submitted to the Election Commission is being released.]

Dear Sir,


Let us, at the outset, put on record the widely felt view of the people who voted during the 4th phase of elections for West Bengal Legislative Assembly held on 25th April, 2016. The overall presence of the election administration, particularly that of the security personnel, both the Central Forces, as well as, sections of the State Police did provide encouragement to the people to vote. However, the heroic resistance of the people and their determination to cast their votes despite all odds, stood out. We, therefore, would like to bring out some experience of the polling held so far and would underline certain urgent measures which need to be stringently initiated in order to further improve the quality of free and fair polls in an atmosphere free from fear and intimidation.


Despite our constant underlining of the paramount need for border sealing (inter-state, inter- district and international including the water ways), though there has been improvement in the situation, still a long way remains for making it absolutely full proof. This must be coupled with vigorous flag marches immediately after the campaign is closed. This is particularly needed in the rural areas where till now the presence of the Central Forces has not registered the desired level of visibility so as to build public confidence. With the level of Central Forces available with the EC, this should not be difficult to achieve.


We are appending herewith (Annexure-I) the submission from the CPI(M) South 24 Parganas District Committee which has provided a detailed list of sensitive booths, and specific measures needed to create a conducive atmosphere for free and fair polls. The submission also includes a list of names of  hardened criminals and anti-socials (Assembly Constituency wise)  

drawn up based on their past involvement in poll related violence during the last Lok Sabha and Municipal and Panchayat polls.


Similarly, we are appending two representations from CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee (Annexure II) pertaining to 153-Behala Purba AC and 154-Behala Paschim AC underlining similar concerns.


We are also appending representations from CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee (Annexure III) on same concerns for the constituencies in Hooghly District and that for Kolkata South District seats (Annexure IV)


Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the seamless manner in which post poll violence is merging into pre poll violence for the subsequent phase. It is important to note that in the atmosphere of general poll related violence the polling agents of the opposition parties appear to be special target for intimidation and terrorization. We, therefore, urge the Election Commission  to not only not lower its guard for the coming phase of polling on April 30, 2016. On the contrary, we think the Election Commission must display greater vigilance, greater alacrity in responding to complaints and effective action.  This is absolutely essential for a free and fair polling in the remaining two phases.


I, need not, reiterate that the Election Commission alone is mandated by our Constitution to ensure the conduct of a free and fair elections.


With regards,

Yours Sincerely


 (Sitaram Yechury)

General Secretary