Bengal versus EC. Who will win?
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Bengal versus EC. Who will win?

"We are like Sourav and the EC is like Greg Chappell and Kiran More ? ? Minister Ashok Bhattacharya

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 14:06 IST

Forgot the war war of ballots. Bengal is playing out a different battle. The Election Commission versus the Reds.

The clamps on the campaign modes have are more trying than the sweltering heat. And the Left Front is sweating under its collar. After slapping a FIR on minister Subhas Chakraborty, the panel cracked down on party offices in West Midnapore district.

In return fire, the CPI(M)-ruled Kolkata Municipal Corporation rejected the South 24 Pargana district magistrate's request for poll-related infrastructure. The party, which had so far refrained from making any statement against the commission, on Wednesday issued a strongly-worded communiqué branding the EC's action in Keshpur (Midnapore) as “one-sided, unneces sary, undemocratic, autocratic and biased".

CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose spewed fire. “We are seeking legal opinion, let the EC function in its own manner, the law will take its own course”.

Each side has its own version of the tale. While the EC defends its action saying the raids were spurred by reports that the comrades were stockpiling arms, the CPI-M claimed that their women were dragged out of bed at night by poll officials and paramilitary personnel for no reason at all.

And the CPI-M is definitely not going to take it lying down. Urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya compares the poll panel to Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell. “We are like Sourav and the EC is like Chappell and More. It is trying to play dirty by imposing curbs.” The tirade goes on.

“Despite fattening their tails at the expense of the CPI (M)-led government, the bureaucrats were acting as EC stooges. They feel that we're going to lose and they would never be caught,” he lashes out. He has even threatened to move the Supreme Court against the panel’s “excesses”. The anger is partly justified. The Left, which relies heavily on traditional campaign modes like graffiti, hoardings and wall posters, has been made to denounce them at the behest of the Election Commission. And eat a humble pie in the process. Not only CPI-M, even Trinamool is grumbling and so’s the Congress.

After it’s the Bengali pride, which is at stake.

First Published: Apr 06, 2006 14:06 IST