A two member delegation of the CPI(M) consisting of General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Central Secretariat Member Nilotpal Basu met the Chief Election Commissioner on April 5, 2016 to draw attention of the Commission to some serious concerns with regard to the elections to the West Bengal legislative assembly.
The full text of the memorandum submitted to the Commission is being released herewith.
At the outset, let us share with you our broad positive sense over the manner in which the first part of phase-1 of the elections to the West Bengal Assembly was held. Discerning media also has put the experience as, by and large, positive (Annexure I).
However, we are also sharing our experience based on inputs generated in real time from the polling locations (Annexure II). We have generally experienced a prompt response on our complaints to observers and other functionaries of EC on the ground.
Having said this, there are still loose knots in the electoral mechanism which need to be addressed. There have been quite a few instances where contrary to earlier pronouncements, state police officials were found inside polling booths and in some instances, even found influencing voters. The area domination in the localities by the Central Police Forces were found to be misdirected by the state police. The state police constables posted outside the booth to manage the voters queue were also, in many cases, seen to be generally guiding the CRPF. The CRPF also was found in some instances to be placed outside the booths rather than inside.
One major problem was the inadequate time that the quick response teams (comprised of CRPF) stayed put in a place of an incident; even though the responses were prompt, being directed from the sector centre (a cluster of about 10 booths) both for civil, as well as police forces. This allowed the miscreants to regroup immediately after the CRPF left, leading to recurrence of trouble.
Along with these issues, we would like to politely remind you of certain issues we had flagged earlier. The issue of disposing off the complaints against the Trinamul Chairperson, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, and Shri Anubrata Mondal, Bribhum district President of TMC, as well as, Rajeev Kumar, the CP of Kolkata. We also reiterate the demand for early deployment of additional companies of Central security forces, as soon as they are available after the Assam elections are over, to step up `area domination’.
(Sitaram Yechury) (Nilotpal Basu)
General Secretary Member, Central Secretariat