A Congress candidate for Haldia civic polls in East Midnapore district on Thursday withdrew her nomination hours after her husband was allegedly abducted and later released.
The Congress party has termed Minu Sens decision to withdraw from polls as a forced one,and accused the Trinamool Congress of coercing the party candidates ahead of the elections. In a letter to the State Election Commission,the Congress has asked for rescheduling of the election in certain wards so that fresh nomination could be filed. The 26 wards of Haldia municipality will go for polls in June.
Minus husband,Pranab Sen,was allegedly abducted on Thursday morning and later released. According to Pranab,his abductors threatened him of dire consequence if his wife failed to withdraw her nomination papers.
Amid this Congress candidate Tarapada Mondal was also abducted. After he was released,Mondal too withdrew his nomination.
Omprakash Mishra,general secretary of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee,said: This is illegal. What may be consensual withdrawal is in fact forced. In a letter to the State Election Commission on May 8,Mishra wrote that a dangerous situation contrary to democratic norms and against the established principles of conduct of elections is prevailing in the municipality and requested the administration to provide security to its candidates contesting elections in Haldia and Panskura municipalities of the district.
Our letter has been ignored and coercion of Congress candidates continues. The party has urged the commission to stop election process in ward number 9 and reopen filing of nomination in five wards 11,19,20,22 and 24 where the party candidates could not file nominations due to threats and intimidation, Mishra added.
This is not the first time that someone from the Congress has been abducted. On Saturday,Manoj Pandey,a Congress leader,was abducted from in front of the SDO office allegedly by a group of Trinamool men. He was later released.
If such incidents are not stopped then I will have to say that there are no free and fair elections in the state. I do not want to say that because Trinamool Congress is our alliance partner, said state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya.
Refuting the allegations of Trinamool hand behind the abductions,senior party leader and Union minister Sisir Adhikari termed it as a drama. This is a drama played by the Congress,which was drafted in Kolkata, he said.