Left parties memorandum to EC

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Left parties delegation met the Chief Election Commissioner today and submitted a memorandum concerning some issues in West Bengal.   The full text of the memorandum is being released to the press.


The Chief Election Commissioner

Election Commission of India 

Nirvachan Sadan

New Delhi


Dear Sir,


We are constrained to draw your attention to certain important issues which certainly will have an adverse impact on the efforts initiated by the Commission to hold free and fair polls for the West Bengal Assembly. 


We are, hereby, submitting a video CD of a long interview of the Chief Minister of West Bengal (Annexure 1) to a private Bengali channel (24 Ghanta) on the evening of March 4 immediately after the announcement of the election and the communication of detailed press note by the Commission.  What is outrageously shocking is, as if on cue and in response to the official announcement about the security arrangement, she brazenly threatened the voters of intimidation.  She candidly stated that there will be no central security force in the state after the polls are over and it will be she alone and her administration which will be around!  Whatever reassurances to the voters were communicated through the Commission’s decision, in terms of creating a fear-free environment for the voters was sought to be immediately nullified.  The Commission ought to examine this video and take strong action to reassure the voters once again that the model code of conduct does not allow for such blatant threatening to influence the electoral outcome. 


The second issue pertains to the blatant misuse of a certain programme of the state government for narrow political interest.  In January 2012, the state government had initiated a programme of giving grant to different clubs in the state. During the first year, 2011-12, 781 such clubs were given a grant of Rs. 15.5 crores.  In 2013-14, the amount was enhanced to Rs. 40 crores with the additional condition that these grants will be available to the clubs for five years on a continuous basis; for the first year, Rs. 2 lakhs and for the subsequent consecutive four years, Rs. 1 lakh each.  Additionally, in 2013 itself, it was decided to extend these grants to 2000 clubs.  And the total expenditure on this count increased to little over Rs. 64 crores. Subsequently, in 2014, the number of clubs was increased to 7,000 and the total grants increased to Rs. 150 crores. Therefore, cumulatively, the total expenditure on this account amounted to Rs. 270 crores.  Some press clippings are annexed herewith (Annexure 2).


But we do not intend to waste your time on the merits or demerits of the programme.  Despite the fact that on a number of occasions, Judges in the High Court have made adverse observations on the nature of the programme.  We draw your attention to a programme held on February 28 in Kolkata where one of the top leaders of TMC Shri Sudip Bandopadhayaya, MP, while addressing a programme of the officials of such clubs which have received such grant said that they should take up the challenge of the coming elections and ensure the  stupendous victory of the TMC.  What he was insisting on was the principle of quid pro quo.  This was plain and simple asking electoral favour for the TMC in return of tax payers’ money. Even after extremely critical media reports on the TMC MP’s remarks, on March 5 (a day after the elections had been actually announced), it was on the intervention of the CPI (M) Malda District Committee that the election authorities had to force the calling off of a programme widely publicized in the Kaliachowk Assembly constituency of Malda district, a similar conference of club officials (who are recipients of the grant).   These instances make it abundantly clear, that these clubs will be used as bodies for influencing the election.  The names of these clubs have been all recommended by the elected representatives of the TMC. The government has never shared these details either on the Floor of the Assembly or elsewhere in the public domain. But it should not be difficult for the Commission to obtain those details from the state government records. 


We urge that putting these clubs on the ‘special watch list’ of the Commission and taking pre-emptive steps to stop the possibility of any foul play is imperative. 


Meanwhile, several instances have taken place from stopping the opposition from undertaking traditional forms of publicity through graffiti on the walls and other forms within the stipulations of the EC guidelines. 


Finally, as was pointed earlier about the extremely difficult situation in the Birbhum–Murshidabad-Bardhaman tri-junction, a major incident has taken place. The location of the explosion is in Murshidabad district. As per official reports, two persons have died when bombs exploded while they were being manufactured. Both belong to TMC and many more have been injured (Annexure 3). 


Therefore, the presence of the Central forces and security cover outside the control of the state government with independent assessment over their exact location become further necessary.  It becomes essential to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections.


          With regards,


Yours sincerely




Sitaram Yechury

D Raja

General Secretary, CPI(M)

Secretary, CPI






Debabrata Biswas

Nilotpal Basu

General Secretary, AIFB

Member, Central Secretariat, CPI(M)






Abani Roy


Secretary, RSP