Vol. XLIII No. 13 March 31, 2019

Left Underlines Burning Issues with Election Commission

ON March 26, a delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Nilotpal Basu and CPI National Secretary D Raja met the full Election Commission on March 25 and raised the following:


The delegation had a detailed discussion with the EC on the release of the biopic on ‘Shri Narendra Modi’.  The delegation pointed out that there are well-established precedents on withholding the release of such propaganda materials during the pendency of the elections. Reportedly, the film is going to be released on April 12, in 23 Indian languages. The election campaign has already started and polling will take place in different phases from April11 and will continue till May 19. 


The delegation also reiterated the demand of matching the VVPAT records with those of the EVM for randomly chosen 50 per cent of the booths. 


The delegation also pointed out the serious law and order situation in Tripura and West Bengal, where the ruling party goons are particularly targeting the Left Front and its candidates.  There were physical attacks on the Tripura West Parliamentary constituency candidate of CPI(M), MP, Sankar Prasad Datta, thrice on March 23.  The delegation also pointed out that the attacks occurred despite the assurance given by the commission on March 6 to ensure adequate arrangement for a terror free election. The delegation urged that unless specific mechanism for ensuring security is put in place, the assurances will remain in default. 

Similarly, in West Bengal, attacks are particularly brazen in constituencies like Coochbehar and Diamond Harbour with large number of officials, who ought to have been transferred out of election duty, continue to remain in place despite the norms set out in the past. 

The delegation also pointed out the peculiar case of the wife of Abhishek Banerjee, MP and TMC candidate in Diamond Harbour. As per media reports she was hauled up for carrying gold and foreign currency notes.  While the customs authorities have filed an FIR, a case was not registered on the material which was being smuggled in.  The delegation urged that there should be a probe by the commission to ascertain the truth .