April 17, 2004

Press Statement

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

It is reported that under the Election Commission’s instructions,
polling staff from outside West Bengal will be deployed in the state.
For this purpose, a few thousand staff from neighbouring states are
being assigned polling duties in West Bengal. In no other state is such
a measure being taken.

The Polit Bureau takes serious exception to this measure. Why is West
Bengal being singled out? Does it mean that in the rest of India
everything is normal and West Bengal is the exception? If polling
staff from outside a state is being deployed in all states, there can
be no objection to the move.

The Election Commission must be aware that in Gujarat, the RSS has
thoroughly infiltrated all sections of the state government machinery
with the full blessings of the Narendra Modi government. Why is this
measure not applicable to Gujarat then? The Commission must have noted
the situation in Tamilnadu where the Jayalalitha government has sought
to intimidate the government employees in the state by their
unprecedented and enmasse dismissal a few months ago. In other states
too, there are various problems.

The Commission has taken this unilateral step without even asking the
state government for its views. In all previous elections, the
Commission had gone on record appreciating the manner in which the
elections were conducted in West Bengal.

The Polit Bureau urges the Commission to make the induction of staff
from outside an all India norm, or to withdraw the step taken in West