Mamata Banerjee threatened voters, Left tells EC

They also demanded deployment of central forces to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 18, 2016 11:25:34 am
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THE LEFT parties Wednesday approached the Election Commission, claiming that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had “brazenly threatened the voters” after the announcement of Assembly elections in the state. They also demanded deployment of central forces to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

The leaders, led by CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, cited an interview given by Mamata to a regional TV channel immediately after the polls were announced.

“What is outrageously shocking is, as if on cue and in response to the official announcement about the security arrangement, she brazenly threatened the voters. She candidly stated that there will be no central security force in the state after the polls are over and it will be she alone and her administration which will be around,” said a memorandum submitted by them.

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“Whatever reassurances to the voters were communicated through the commission’s decision, in terms of creating a fear-free environment was sought to be immediately nullified. The commission ought to examine this video and take strong action to reassure the voters once again that the model code of conduct does not allow for such blatant threatening to influence the electoral outcome,” said the memorandum.

They said the Opposition parties are being prevented from undertaking “traditional forms of publicity through graffiti on the walls and other forms within the stipulations of the EC guidelines.”

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Referring to a blast in Murshidabad, they said, “As per official reports, two persons died when bombs exploded while they were being manufactured. Both belong to TMC.”

“Therefore, the presence of central forces and security cover outside the control of the state government… becomes further necessary. It becomes essential to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections,” they said.

The leaders also complained that a government programme of giving grant to clubs in the state is being misused for political interests.