Left Front to launch strong protest if municipal elections are turned into farce: Surjya Kanta Mishra


The Left Front will launch a strong protest if democratic rights of the people are attacked during the forthcoming municipality elections, scheduled to be held on April 18 and 25. We will not sit idle if the election process is turned into farce, said Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra, Leader of Opposition and Secretary of CPI (M) West Bengal State Committee, addressing an agitation program convened by the Left Front in front of the State Election Commission office on March 19.

Biman Basu, chairman of the Left Front Committee, said the State Election Commission had become rubber stamp of the state Government and the ruling party, the Trinamool Congress, which was dangerous for the democratic rights of the people of West Bengal.

The other speakers also criticised the State Election Commission, saying its sole consideration was to take care of ruling party’s benefit, reflected in its hasty initiative of conducting election before the term fulfilment of democratically-elected municipal bodies. They are not even paying heed to the constitutional and legal provisions, said Biman Basu.

He said an all-party meeting was convened on March 15, but the dates of the elections were not placed in the meeting. That the election for Kolkata Municipal Corporation and other 92 municipalities will be held on April 18 and 25, respectively, was not disclosed. Perhaps the dates were dictated by the state administrative headquarters, he said, adding that such an atmosphere is giving rise to an obvious question — whether the democratic spirit will be protected during these elections. 

Basu said a strong movement has to be launched with common people for rescuing democracy if the Government, administration and State Election Commission take no steps. Certainly attacks will be unleashed to stop those movements, but attacks and assaults are not the final word, he added.

Mishra said if the administration and the State Election Commission do not comply with constitutional and legal provisions, greater movements will be launched in the coming days. He said it is a shame that an agitation programme demanding protection of democratic rights of the people has to be staged in front of the State Election Commission’s office.

Earlier, the State Election Commission had to move the Supreme Court for conducting elections long after the completion of the full tenure of elected bodies, but now the State Election Commission has planned to conduct elections before the completion of full tenure of an elected body to cater the interests of the ruling party, he said. Mishra said hooligans are giving out threat to the Left activists, disrupting their campaign, as was seen in Ward no. 3 of the Kolkata Municipal Corproation.

The Left Front agitation programme was presided over by Dilip Sen, convener of the Kolkata district Left Front. Among those who addressed it were Niranjan Chatterjee and Anadi Sahoo of CPI(M),  Prabir Deb of CPI,  Sukumar Ghosh of RSP, Mihir Bain of RCPI and Nazrul Islam of DSP.