‘TC-Maoist connivance may undermine WB polls’
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Last Updated: Friday, January 21, 2011, 16:36
New Delhi: Warning that "active connivance" between Trinamool Congress and Maoists could undermine the upcoming Assembly election process in West Bengal, Left parties today asked the Election Commission to take steps to ensure free and fair polls.

Despite improvement in the situation, "significant challenges remain for the holding of peaceful, free and fair elections, given the spree of violence let loose by Trinamool Congress with the active connivance of the Maoists", the four parties told the EC top brass in a memorandum here.

This, they said, could be the "central factor which can undermine the due electoral process."

Regarding the visit by an EC team comprising mainly police officials to West Bengal, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters, "We told the EC that it was an unprecedented move (to send the team) when elections are yet to be declared."

Moreover, he said, the team visited "only those areas which were pointed out by the opposition party (Trinamool) and not where we would have liked them to visit ... those places where large number of people have been evicted by Maoists from their hearth and home."

He said the EC requested the Left leaders to submit a list of areas where they wanted the team to visit.

People were still living in camps, away from their homes, for the fear of Maoist attacks. "They are genuine voters and we want the EC to ensure that they exercise their right to franchise," the CPI(M) leader said.

In response to the gruesome killings by Maoists, a large number of people in three affected districts of Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura "have come out to collectively protest and isolate the Maoists. This has also been a key factor for the success of the joint operations," he said.

Leaders of CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc met CEC S Y Quraishi and his colleagues and submitted a list of 335 people killed recently by the Left extremists, which they said were "largely targeted killings of activists, leaders and organisers of the Left parties."

"Of the 335 Left cadres, 125 were tribals and the rest poor agricultural labourers and women," Yechury said after the 40-minute meeting.

"In no other Maoist violence-affected state you can find such a large number of civilian casualties, nor do they consist of political opponents of the Maoists," the Left leaders told the Commission.

The Left leaders, including General Secretaries of CPI and Forward Bloc, A B Bardhan and Debabrata Biswas, RSP leader Abani Roy and CPI(M)'s Basudeb Acharia and Nilotpal Basu, said a "very dangerous feature" was that Maoists were "conniving" with Trinamool Congress since the Nandigram events of 2007.

Quoting National Crime Records Bureau data on the numbers of incidents and those killed, the memorandum said, "The campaign of violence by Maoists are proving to be so worrisome and lethal because of the overt and covert support they receive from the Trinamool Congress."

In this context, Yechury said the leaders submitted copies of media reports, statements by Maoist leaders and excerpts from a book by Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman to buttress their allegations about "the reality of the Maoist-Trinamool nexus".

The Left leaders also referred to recent reports of the arrest of a Trinamool Congress leader as he was taking two Maoists, injured in a landmine blast, for medical treatment from West Bengal to Orissa.

"The threat of violence still remains as the Maoist terror apparatus is yet to be completely dismantled," the memorandum said, adding that the Trinamool Congress was emboldened by its association with the extremists and continued their violence against political opponents in some other districts of south Bengal, the memorandum added.


First Published: Friday, January 21, 2011, 16:36

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