Saturday, September 21, 2013

Massive Rigging by TMC in Election to 12 Municipalities: CPI (M) Demands Total Re-poll in Burdwan and Chakdah Municipality

Election to 12 municipalities in West Bengal was marred with massive rigging and violence in the hands of the goons of the ruling party with the administrative machinery and police remaining as mere spectators. 8lakhs 46thousand 366 voters were to cast their votes in 244 wards of 12 municipalities on Saturday the 21st of September, 2013. What turned out eventually as voting started from 7a.m in the morning was a picture of farcical democracy with TMC vandals taking hold of the booths by forcefully throwing out the agents of the Left parties in vast areas, particularly in Burdwan, Chakdah and Panihati municipality. Voters other than TMC supporters were barred from casting their votes by force or by terror. As time passed by voting took the shape of utter show of rigging and violence by the TMC in areas especially that of Burdwan and Chakdah in Nadia district. In Panihati, North 24 Parganas, there was massive violence with even the State Election Commissioner Meera Pandey heckled by TMC.

With the election becoming a farce because of the rigging by TMC, CPI(M) and Left Front withdrew all agents and candidates and boycotted the election in Burdwan. The Left Front will not participate in the counting process. In Burdwan, the election agents of the Left Front were simply thrown out of the polling booths by the TMC while police and administration remained mere spectators. Even within the polling booth, the TMC goons were standing in front of the voting machines and openly dictating the people to vote for the TMC. On the face of such mass scale booth capture, the CPI(M) and Left Front decided to boycott the elections. In Chakdah, the situation was similar to that of Burdwan, where most of the booths were captured in the morning. The election became a farce and the CPI(M) and Left Front decided to boycott the election.

Politburo member of CPI(M) Nirupam Sen alleged that what happened on Saturday is a repetition of the happenings of the 70’s. Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra said that TMC resorted to all sorts of malpractices in Burdwan, Chakdah and Panihati Municipality. Genuine voters were barred from casting their votes. Polling agents were thrown out of the booths. The workers were mercilessly beaten up. There are endless complains. Total re-poll has been demanded in Burdwan and Chakdah.

In Panihati, re-poll has been demanded by the Left Front in 23 Wards out of 35. The Election Commissioner herself when she was visiting the booths in Panihati was heckled and forcibly barred from performing her duties by TMC goons. When one of the local people came forward to lodge a complaint to the election commissioner, his house was ransacked by the TMC people and her eight month old child was taken by force from his wife’s lap and simply thrown to the ground. In all 80 people have been injured in Panihati. In Habra 13 people were injured. In 2 booths voting machines were broken with revolver.

The democratic processes in West Bengal are under severe attack since the TMC came to power. Large-scale violence and rigging was witnessed across the state during the Panchayat elections. The TMC in the most undemocratic manner forced CPI(M) councilors to vote in favour of TMC thereby gaining control over Haldia Municipality. This same legacy continued today, with the TMC forcefully trying to capture the municipalities through rigging and violence

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