CEC Zaidi snubs Oppn demand to remove CEO
Asked whether Sunil Gupta would be removed, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that the CEO was doing his best to ensure free and fair elections. Congress, CPIM and BJP on Thursday met Zaidi and alleged intimidation of voters by Trinamool Congress and post- poll violence.
A Congress team led by Manas Bhuniya met the Commissioner in the morning and demanded that the District Magistrates and Superintendents of police of Birbhum and Murshidabad be replaced for showing undue favour to the ruling party.
He also demanded that Anubrata Mandal, TMC district president of Birbhum be taken to a safe place on April 17, the day when election would be held in Birbhum so that he could not influence voters. He further alleged that election observers were not seen on the day of polling. He said he was not happy with the functioning of Gupta and Sandip Saxena, the deputy election commissioner.
Rabin Deb of CPI(M) told the Commission that in Narayangarh, a demonstration was held in front of Surya Kanta Mishra. The matter was brought to the notice of the CEO but no action was taken.
Siddharth Nath Singh of BJP said vigil along the border should be intensified to stop anti-socials from sneaking into West Bengal. He said the Central Forces were not properly used and demanded extra deployment. He said the Commission had assured him that 800 companies of Central Forces would be deployed in the next phase of election.
Mukul Roy said that election was held in 8,000 booths and photographs had been taken by the commission as well as by the media. He said a section of media and Opposition parties were making false allegations and by doing this they had insulted voters who stood in long queues outside polling stations braving excessive heat. He said the photographs which were shown in the media were not verified. “We had seen the same picture in Netai and when violence took place in 1990 and 1991.”
Litterateur Shankha Ghosh, theatre personality Kaushik Sen, social activist Bolan Gangopadhyay and painter Samir Aich representing Save Democracy Forum met the Chief Election Commissioner and submitted a memorandum alleging that the second phase of election was far from being free and fair.
There was large- scale violence. But no step was taken by the EC despite repeated complaints to the CEO.
Zaidi said the complaints and allegations by the Opposition parties had been looked into. The DMs and SPs had been instructed to ensure that no voter was stopped on the way to the polling station. The EC chief also directed poll officials to ensure that political workers of Opposition parties were not threatened.
There will be adequate number of Central Forces in the bordering areas. Strict legal action would be taken against those who intimidated voters. He said the post- poll violence was being looked into seriously and assured that the Commission was committed to ensure free and fair elections.