Left parties meet EC, claim their activists being terrorised

Left parties asked Election Commission to take immediate steps to ensure free and fair polls in West Bengal, including ordering execution of non-bailable warrants against criminals who were "terrorising" people ahead of the vote.

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 18:48 PM IST

New Delhi: Claiming that their activists
were under attack from "Trinamool Congress-led anti-socials",
Left parties on Wednesday asked Election Commission to take immediate
steps to ensure free and fair polls in West Bengal, including
ordering execution of non-bailable warrants against criminals
who were "terrorising" people ahead of the vote.

The four parties also alleged that a prominent media
group, which they said was "acting as an official mouthpiece"
of Mamata Banerjee`s party, was given prime land in Kolkata by
the TC-led municipal corporation at a low rate that would
cause a loss of at least Rs 100 crore to the exchequer.

A delegation of the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc
raised these issues when they met Chief Election Commissioner
S Y Quraishi and the two commissioners here and sought
immediate action to ensure free and fair polls.
Maintaining that none of the "criminals" against whom
175 non-bailable warrants were issued over a period of time
have been arrested in East Midnapore, CPI(M) leader Sitaram
Yechury said, "Unless these warrants are executed, the
confidence of the people will not be restored.

"These criminals are moving about freely, terrorising
not only our people, but those who were driven out of their
hearths and homes a year ago and have now returned. The TC-
backed anti-socials are also attacking EC officials."

He claimed that in one of the constituencies, the son
of a prominent Union Minister of the Trinamool Congress
"physically assaulted the Assistant Returning Officer".

Yechury said the attacker fled from the police station
after being arrested. "Now he is an absconder and action
should be taken against him".
He said the delegation had also raised the issue of
"open threats" allegedly issued by Gurkha Janmukti Morcha
chief Bimal Gurung against top GNLF leaders in Darjeeling.
"Gurung, who is himself out on bail, has made such threats and
immediate action should be taken against him".

Yechury, who was accompanied at the meeting by CPI
General Secretary A B Bardhan, Abani Roy (RSP), Nilotpal Basu
(CPI-M) and S P Tiwari (Forward Bloc), said the EC has assured
them of acting on the issues.

Raising the issue of "paid news", Basu said the
Calcutta High Court had stayed the transfer of land by
Kolkata Municipal Corporation to a media group.

"As the High Court has stayed it, the matter should be
construed as financial gratification to the group which runs a
newspaper and a TV channel. We have submitted all related
documents to the EC for them to take action", he said.

West Bengal will go to polls in six phases from April
18 to May 10.

PTI