Is the EC playing into BJP, Congress hands in West Bengal?
Is the Election Commission of India playing into the hands of the BJP and Congress? This particular question haunts many in West Bengal. Even after successfully conducting the initial two days of the first phase of elections on April 4 and 11, the EC issued a show-cause notice to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. During this time 95 per cent of the allegations made by the Opposition were found to be false.
The Opposition lodged a complaint that Mamata Banerjee in her speech announced that Asansol would be a new district. The state government officials at Nabanna said that before show-causing the Chief Minister, the Election Commission should have notified them as the decision to declare Asansol as a separate district was taken at a Cabinet meeting on December 18, 2015.
The issuance of a show-cause notice to the Chief Minister shows that the either the Chief Election Commissioner is playing to the gallery or he is trying to keep the Opposition in good humour without verifying the facts. The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) also took cognisance of some complaints made by the Opposition against the Central Forces after some private regional television channels had telecast videos in which they were seen eating cucumbers and buying sweets on April 11.
However, the CEC looked the other way when leaders of the ruling party alleged that 11 of their workers had been killed since election dates were announced.
Also, the CEC has threatened to take legal action against Anubrata Mondal, Birbhum District President of Trinamool Congress but did not take any action against CPI(M) MP and politburo member Mohammad Selim who said in a public meeting that he was not Suryakanta Misra and revenge would be taken after the election.
Interestingly, the SP of Birbhum was transferred on Thursday night without assigning any cause. None of the allegations were probed into. Earlier, SPs of four districts were removed.
The Commissioner of Kolkata Police was also transferred on the basis of allegations by the Opposition. The Inspector in charge of Mayureshwar police station has also been transferred twice within a month. Political observers said that some of the actions taken by ECI had raised questions on its impartiality.