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 today to draw attention of the Commission to some serious concerns with regard to the forthcoming elections to the West Bengal legislative assembly.
The full text of the memorandum submitted to the Commission is being released herewith.
We would like to inform you, as we have been given to understand, that out of the 200 odd Ponzi companies in which only 44 are being investigated by the CBI and the rest by the state police. We have been given to further understand that under the threat of investigation, some of these smaller companies are being forced to cough up money which are finding their way to finance the ruling party’s election funding (Annexure-I). We believe that the EC’s initiative to follow up the details of these companies from police records and their financial transactions could prove to be a major element in plugging this monetary flow.
In fact, during your stay in Kolkata itself, you have been briefed by the opposition parties about a video which resulted from a sting operation carried out for two years. The video is explosive and quite tellingly brings out the brazenness of the top brass of the ruling party, many of whom are MPs, MLAs, Ministers and the Mayor of Kolkata. In fact, the Lok Sabha and its Speaker has taken cognizance and referred the matter to the Parliament’s Ethics Committee for investigation. We believe that you have been also urged to take up this issue because some portions of this video exposure directly concern the EC’s jurisdiction where Burdwan district SP collected money on behalf of Mukul Roy, MP (RS) and the TMC leader. May we remind that this same officer was transferred by the EC for his tainted record during 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the CM had launched an ugly confrontation against the EC to stop that.
We believe that the video precisely vindicates the concerns that we had expressed before you.
We are also constrained to draw your attention to certain serious issues of concern which will affect the process of elections to the West Bengal assembly.
Unfortunately, notwithstanding your efforts, complaints keep pouring in from our Party units and the Left Front in West Bengal which underline the continuing serious situation in a number of assembly constituencies.
Despite your best efforts, a major concern is emerging on the implementation of the very specific direction that the EC has given over non-deployment of civic volunteers for election work and blanket ban on staging any motor bike procession (Annexure II & III). There are reports available with us, as well as, that in the media about violation on these two counts. In fact, what is most disturbing that in many cases, officer in-charges of police stations are deploying civic volunteers for the general overseen of stay and other arrangements for the Central security forces and even assisting in route marches for area domination. It is well known that civic volunteers are essentially recruited on a contractual basis and in the present circumstances largely constituted by TMC activists. The implication is obvious. Similarly, procession of motor bike is the most widely used method to terrorise the population. Therefore, on these two counts, a closer monitoring of the implementation of the guideline is solicited.
We are forwarding some of the most serious issues. One of these is the situation prevailing in the Keshpur assembly constituency of West Midnapur district. Incidentally, this is an area which has earlier witnessed intense Maoist activity and widespread public perception linked them to the present ruling party. There have not only been attacks but also storing of huge amounts of firearms. The complaint also gives out a detailed list of individuals who are in the possession of these arms (Annexure IV & V).
We had earlier drawn your notice to the serious situation prevailing in the tri-junction of Birbhum, Murshidabad and Bardwan districts. The major source of concern is the activity of Birbhum district president of the TMC, Anubrata Mondal. He is notorious for making outrageous statements completely violating the model of code of conduct in the manner of provocation and incitement to violence. We are appending herewith a complaint from the CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee to his latest statement which underlines this threat. Therefore, he needs to be brought under special watch and acted upon for his remark (Annexure VI).
There are also complaints that some clubs (as we had expressed apprehensions earlier) are getting involved to act in favour of the ruling party (Annexure VII). Apart from this, there are instances of dereliction of duty by the police, which might be willful as well, in order to benefit the TMC and harass common voters and create an atmosphere of terror (Annexure VIII).
Apart from this, there are issues which need to be brought to your notice. The first issue pertains to the attack on Shri Tapas Sinha proposed Left Front candidate in 217 Ramnagar AC in Purba Medinipur district. We are hereby forwarding the letter of the CPI(M) West Bengal State committee (Annexure IX). The letter is self-explanatory and substantiates the extent of terror and attempts by the ruling TMC to undermine the process of free and fair elections. We would like to further point out that the main accused has not been arrested; on the contrary, he is sighted on a regular basis in the BDO office.
We are also forwarding the letter written to you by the CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee on 12th March, 2016 regarding rape, molestation and attempt to murder by criminals of TMC in 132 Sagar AC in South 24 Parganas district (Annexure X). The letter is again self-explanatory.
We are forwarding a letter written to you by the CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee regarding the gross violation of the model code of conduct by the government of West Bengal through publication of the recruitment procedure in Madrasas (Annexure XI). Again the letter is self-explanatory with the appended Gazette Notification.
We are forwarding a letter written to you by the Left Front Committee of West Bengal (Annexure XII). This is a very serious issue on the confidentiality of the presiding officer’s diary. The letter explains in the light of earlier elections to incorporate the strict instruction to maintain the confidentiality of the presiding officer’s diary and the procedure to be followed thereon to insulate the process from undue interference by the state government officials.
We are also forwarding a number of complaints about the situation in West Midnapur, East Midnapur, Nadia districts. The complaints are self-explanatory (Annexure XIII).
We are also forwarding complaints on misuse of EPIC. The complaint is self-explanatory (Annexure XIV).
We are flagging the need to closely monitor the transfer/posting of officers upto the level of inspector/sub-inspector/Assistant sub-inspector of the state police under different police stations. We are given to understand that even now a large number of discrepancies remain in the transfer/posting of higher rank officers in both the civil and police administration contrary to instructions issued by the Election Commission. Further, the inter-district transfers of Inspectors/SIs/ASIs have not been carried out. We believe that the Commission will appreciate the fact that these category of officials are those who control the basic policing work at the police station level. Therefore, their transfers in the line of what was done in the case of Bihar assembly elections is absolutely imperative. We are hereby appending a copy of the same Bihar order for your ready reference and further action (Annexure XV).
We are hereby seeking your decision on our earlier plea regarding the transfer/posting of certain high ranking officials viz. Smt. Bharati Ghosh (who was posted as OSD, LWE having jurisdiction over three districts of West Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia) and Smt. Nandini Chakraborty (who was transferred out from her position as Commissioner, Presidency range).
In the light of the direct challenge launched by the CM West Bengal herself to undermine the authority of the Election Commission as brought out before the Commission earlier, these issues that we have now pointed out need to be urgently acted upon.
(Sitaram Yechury) (Nilotpal Basu)
General Secretary Member, Central Secretariat