Friday, May 2, 2014
Memorandum Submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner by leaders of Left Parties on May 2, 2014
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
New Delhi 110 001
Sub: Corrective Action Over Large Scale Rigging During the
Third Phase of Lok Sabha Elections in West Bengal
It is with a deep sense of hurt and anguish that we are constrained to forward the representation of the Chairman of the Left Front Committee, West Bengal, over the large scale rigging during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal held on April 30, 2014.
At the outset, let us reaffirm our sense of pride in the overall credibility of the ECI as a constitutional body and as a custodian of the democratic rights of our people – their right to cast their votes in free, fair and peaceful elections.
You must be aware that we have been in constant touch with you to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls in West Bengal and extended our fullest cooperation. We have also unhesitatingly complied with all suggestions and directions of the esteemed Commission.
However, the third phase of election on April 30 has left us in a state of shock and frustration. We are given to understand that similar sentiments are expressed by other opposition parties including the national parties.
In the light of what happened during the local elections for panchayats and municipalities there was widespread apprehension about the integrity of the election process for Lok Sabha. In the light of our apprehensions the full commission visited Kolkata, saw for themselves the situation and had its interactions with different political parties as well. Subsequently, the Commission initiated certain strong steps including introduction of certain administrative changes and the appointment of a special observer. These steps evoked further hope.
Even though there were some instances of wrong doing in the first two phases, the reassurance from the special observer that he has ‘appropriate medicines’ to deal with the situation created a sense of positive expectation. He elaborated that all measures for security of the voters and the voting process have been made. All booths will be covered by either the central forces or micro-observers or video/webcasting.
But the experience on April 30 was completely different. Not only were complaints ignored and unaddressed by the observers, but the assurance that not only formal complaints from parties or voters but also response will be there from the election authorities to media reports were completely ignored. Throughout the day the visual media telecast dozens of visuals of actual rigging and manipulation. On no single instance was there any response. When in the afternoon our representatives met the special observer he refused to accept any of the complaints and strangely at around 3.00 p.m. – full three hours before the election was to get over, announced to the media that polls have been ‘free and fair’ even if not always peaceful.
It saddens us that not only the political parties but the media in general, both visual and print, have torn away into the claims of the special observer. In recent times, never the credibility of the election commission been brought under so much of question.
Therefore, we demand that to restore the faith of the people at large, the special observer be withdrawn forthwith and action against the CEO West Bengal is expeditiously initiated. Further, repoll be held as demanded in the representation.
These steps are urgently needed not just to ensure the exercise of voting rights by the people under free, fair and peaceful conditions, but also to restore the confidence of the people in the institution of ECI.
Hoping you will appreciate our strongly felt concerns and do the needful.
(S. Ramachandran Pillai), Member, Polit Bureau, CPI(M)
(Nilotpal Basu), Member, Central Secretariat
(D. Raja), National Secretary, CPI