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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Bengal: Left to protest alleged poll malpractices

PTI  New Delhi, May 13, 2014
First Published: 13:28 IST(13/5/2014) | Last Updated: 17:14 IST(10/6/2014)

Four Left parties would on Wednesday organise nationwide protests against the "assault on democracy" in West Bengal, accusing ruling Trinamool Congress of violence and poll malpractices and the Election Commission of being ineffective in checking them.

"The Trinamool Congress had launched this campaign of terror and intimidation on the eve of polling. The entire state machinery and the police have connived in this effort to manipulate the elections," the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said in a joint statement here.

They said it is shocking that the poll panel "has been unable to intervene effectively during this (last) round of polling, even though there was enough forewarning about what was to come, after the earlier two phases."  

The last phase of polling for 17 Lok Sabha seats Monday was marked by "widespread violence, capture of over 1,000 polling booths, polling agents of opposition parties being driven out and physical attacks on people going to vote in various places."

The worst incident took place in Haroa block in Basirhat parliamentary constituency "where voters going to the polling booth were fired upon. Four persons suffered bullet injuries and 17 others were injured by sharp weapons."  Observing that some of the worst-affected seats were Kolkata North, Barrackpur, Ghatal, Dumdum, Basirhat, Bongaon and Diamond Harbour, they said along with the rigging in the third and fourth phase, "this constitutes a brazen attack on the democratic system. Despite this violence, people have been braving these attacks and asserting their right to vote."  

They demanded urgent intervention of the Election Commission to restore conditions for a free and fair poll.

"This can be done only by ordering a re-poll in all the affected polling booths in the third, fourth and fifth rounds of polling. It is only by doing this that the sanctity of the democratic process can be protected," the Left parties said.

Urging all democratic forces to voice their protest against "this assault on democracy in West Bengal", the parties said they would organise protests all over the country on May 14 to demand re-poll in all the affected areas under strict supervision.


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