CM tells EC to ensure 'peaceful & impartial' polls in last phase
Kolkata: Just hours before the final phase of the Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Saturday requesting him to ensure "peaceful and impartial" elections in the state without "undue" interference from the BJP.
Banerjee's letter assumes significance as nine Parliamentary constituencies in the state are going for polls in Bengal on Sunday, the last phase of the elections.
"In the final phase of election tomorrow (Sunday), I would request your good office to kindly ensure that election is completed peacefully, impartially and without any undue interference of the Central government and without any intervention of the ruling party at the Centre. I would request you to kindly protect democratic institutions and federal structure of the country and extend due respect to the Opposition parties," her letter read.
She had alleged that there has been "a number of illegal, unconstitutional and biased decisions" during the election process because of "undue advantage of the Central government and the ruling party at the Centre". She had pointed out that this has harassed not only the state administration and its officers but also the common people of the state.
"All evidences show that the roadshow of the BJP national president (Amit Shah) in Kolkata on May 14 was allowed by withdrawing Section 144 in the area by the new Commissioner of Police appointed by the Election Commission. The roadshow was a deliberate, intentional and criminal conspiracy to vandalise the culture and heritage of the city and to defame the state government and its people," she wrote.
She further questioned the legality of appointment of two retired officers as Special Observers and alleged that these officers had shown "partisan attitude and has always complied with the instructions of the Central government". She has reiterated that all these issues were brought to the Commission's notice but no justice has been done.
Meanwhile, in another major development before the last phase of polls, the Commission restricted the entry of BJP leader Mukul Roy in all the nine constituencies which go to polls on Sunday.
1,49,63,143 voters are expected to exercise their franchise on Sunday in the Lok Sabha polls at Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Mathurapur (SC) and Joynagar (SC). The total number of candidates for this phase of polls is 111, with the highest number of candidates — 21 — being from Kolkata North constituency. The total number of polling stations are 17,042 that are located in 9,230 polling premises. "There will be deployment of Central Forces in all the booths and all other necessary security measures to ensure free and fair elections," said Sanjay Basu, Additional CEO, Bengal.
Assembly by-elections will also be held in four Assembly constituencies – Darjeeling, Islampur, Habibpur (ST) and Bhatpara in which 828123 electors are expected to cast their voting rights for as many as 34 candidates.
Interestingly, in Darjeeling, the number of female voters is 1,19,241 which is more than the number of male voters at 1,15,756.
The Election Commission has also undertaken a slew of measures so that the voters face little difficulty in casting their votes in the scorching heat with the Alipore weather office predicting temperature on the higher side accompanied by nearly 95 percent relative humidity.