Left Underlines Burning Issues with the EC
A delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Nilotpal Basu and CPI National Secretary D. Raja met the full Election Commission on March 25 and raised the following:
The delegation had a detailed discussion with the EC on the release of the biopic on Shri Narendra Modi. The delegation pointed out that there are well-established precedents on withholding the release of such propaganda materials during the pendency of the elections. The EC, however, was non-committal.
The delegation also reiterated the demand of matching the VVPAT records with those of the EVM for randomly chosen 50 per cent of the booths. The EC pointed out that as per the Supreme Court direction, the Commission will be submitting an affidavit on March 28 on this subject.
Law and Order Situation in Tripura and West Bengal
The delegation also pointed out the serious law and order situation in Tripura and West Bengal, where the ruling party goons are particularly targeting the Left Front and its candidates. There were physical attacks on the Tripura West Parliamentary constituency candidate of CPI(M), MP, Sankar Prasad Datta, thrice on the 23rd March. The delegation also pointed out that this was despite the assurance given by the Commission on March 6. The delegation urged that unless specific mechanism for ensuring security is put in place, the assurances will remain in default.
Similarly, in West Bengal, attacks are particularly brazen in constituencies like Coochbehar and Diamond Harbour with large number of officials, who ought to have been transferred out of election duty, continue to remain in place despite the norms set out in the past.
The delegation also pointed out the peculiar case of the wife of Shri Abhishek Banerjee, MP and TMC candidate in Diamond Harbour. As per media reports she was hauled up for carrying gold and foreign currency notes. While the customs authorities have filed an FIR, a case was not registered on the material which was being smuggled in. The delegation urged that there should be a probe by the Commission to ascertain the truth as this has financial implications and a possible impact on free and fair polls.
The memorandum submitted before the Commission is attached.
(Hari Singh Kang)
For Central Committee Office
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (CPI)
March 25, 2019
Dear Shri. Arora ji,
In continuation of our letter dated seeking for an appointment with the Commission dated 22nd March 2019, we are constrained to draw your attention to the following facts.
1) We are attaching herewith a copy of the letter written to you by Shri. S. Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary, Communist Party of India. (Annexure-1)
It has been brought to our notice that the biopic on Shri. Narendra Modi is going to be released on an all India basis. From the widespread sneak reviews of the film published in the media, it is clear that it is a propaganda film. We have umpteen numbers of precedents from Election Commission’s responses to the exhibition of films involving candidates. Reportedly, the film is going to be released on 12th April in 23 Indian languages. The elections are to start from 11th April and will continue till the 19th May. Shri. Narendra Modi has been announced as a candidate in these elections. Given the precedents, we urge the Commission to stop the exhibition of the film till the elections are over and further no publicity regarding the film should be put out in the media as this would clearly constitute a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
2) We are attaching herewith several papers, complaints, media reports which underline the threats to the holding of free and fair polls in Tripura and West Bengal.(Annexure.2-Tripura, Annexure.3-West Bengal)
We would like to recall our meeting with you on the 6th of March where we had particularly highlighted the specific nature of the threats in holding a fair election in Tripura. Unfortunately, several incidents are taking place on a continued basis since then, which vindicate our worst apprehensions. Of these of particular concern is the attack on Shri. Shankar Dutta, the CPI(M) candidate for the Tripura West Parliamentary constituency thrice in course of a single day on Sunday, the 24th of March. Many of these incidents are taking place right in front of the security forces and the police, despite all information and permissions secured from the concerned election authorities. Similar incidents are also there for the Tripura East (ST) Parliamentary constituency. The formal letters of the two candidates who were part of our delegation on 6th March constitute part of annexure.2. we would also like to further underline that the Chief Minister of Tripura, Shri. Biplab Deb have spoken on camera invoking the military conflicts and the heroism of the armed forces linking it with the Narendra Modi led government despite the express direction of the Election Commission to the contrary.
Similarly, several points have been highlighted in the papers relating to West Bengal for the holding of free and fair polls in the state. All of these have been annexed (Annexure.3-West Bengal). Here also there are several instances of attacks by the ruling TMC goons with the full connivance of the state police administration. We have also drawn your attention to the incident involving the gold haul recovered from the wife of Shri. Abhishek Banerjee, M.P. from Diamond Harbour Parliamentary Constituency who is again once again contesting from the same seat. It has been reported that the customs authorities in the NSCB airport in Kolkata have filed a FIR against her. As part of the report, we have been also given to understand that there was an attempt by the state police to get her released without registering a case. Since, she was allegedly carrying both gold and foreign currency notes which have financial implications in the election process, it ought to be within the purview of the Election Commission and warrants an independent probe.
3) We had flagged the necessity for matching the tally as recorded in the EVMs, as well as, the concerned VVPAT counts in at least 50 per cent of the booths in a Lok Sabha constituency. This is absolutely imperative in putting all doubts to complete rest.
Nilotpal Basu D. Raja
Member, CPIM Polit Bureau National Secretary, CPI
Shri Sunil Arora
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi