Press Release

Shri Sitaram Yechury, member, Polit Bureau of CPI(M) and Shri Nilotpal Basu, member, Central Secretariat of CPI(M) met the Election Commission today and submitted a memorandum.

The copy of the memorandum presented on the serious situation in the three hill sub-divisions of the Darjeeling Parliament Constituency in West Bengal and the need for creating an appropriate atmosphere for the holding of free and fair elections, is given below:

April 7, 2009
The Election Commission of India
Nirvachan Sadan
Ashoka Road, New Delhi

Dear Sir,

With a great sense of concern and anguish, we would like to draw your attention to the abnormal situation prevailing in the 4-Darjeeling Parliament constituency in the state of West Bengal where the right of Left Front nominated CPI(M) candidate Shri Jibesh Sarkar is being undermined by the terror unleashed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

At the outset, we would give you the background of the present situation. In three hill sub-divisions viz Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong which fall under 4-Darjeeling Parliamentary Constituency, it is the GJM which is dominating physically with force and violence pursuing the separatist slogan of Gorkhalanbout the prevailing situation, despite that no perceptible improvement is there in the ground level condition.

The summary of the situation can be described as follows:

1.Our activists are not being allowed to move freely in their own areas, not to speak of campaigning for the election
2.Those activists and supporters of the Party who attend the meetings are threatened and social boycott is enforced through the crude use of force and violence in the localities
3.CPI(M) Party district office was forced to bd. The GJM is playing havoc by not allowing other parties, particularly the CPI(M) to campaign in those hill areas.

Our Party have, time and again, informed the Election Commission, Chief Election Officer, West Bengal, District Election Officer and other law enforcing authorities ae closed down earlier on 27th March when our candidate Shri Jibesh Sarkar went to Darjeeling for meeting the voters. He was forced to withdraw from the area and the Party leadership was kept gheraoed for a long time inside the Party office.
4.Our festoons and hoardings were not allowed to demonstrate in different areas of Hills and the foot hills as well by the gangs of the Morcha
5.The GJM is also threatening the Tibetan, Muslim and other minority communities with dire consequences if they do not vote for the Morcha-supported candidate. This complaint has also been lodged with the All India Minority Commission which is an independent constitutional body.

In the background of all these, we urge the Commission to take it up with the CEO of West Bengal and other concerned authorities to ensure that an appropriate atmosphere for a free and fair election is created in the three assembly segments of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong assembly segments of the 4-Darjeeling Parliament constituency. We strongly feel that the security arrangement should not only been ensured for the polling day but for the entire period of campaign in the run up to the elections. We particularly draw your attention to the need for ensuring the safety and security of our candidate and our activists and sympathisers during this campaign period. We also urge strong action be initiated against Shri Bimal Gurung, the GJM supremo for his vitriolic speech intimidating the minorities like Tibetans and Muslims (content is part of the CD placed in the annexure). We also request you to ensure that official meetings for the constituency in which representatives of political parties have to attend are held in Siliguri instead of Darjeeling.

We also urge you that the counting of votes should take place in Darjeeling, Siliguri and Islampur as in the past. In the event of the counting for all the Assembly segments centrally at one place, we would like to suggest that it should be held in Siliguri and not in Darjeeling. Our apprehension is that it is not possible to hold the counting in a normal and peaceful atmosphere in Darjeeling.

We are hereby appending all relevant past communications, as well as, written and video material to substantiate our contention.

(Sitaram Yechury)                                         (Nilotpal Basu)
Member, Polit Bureau                                  Member, Central Secretariat