Left cries foul over Bengal five-phase polls
The Left Front alleged on Thursday that the Election Commission?s decision to phase out the elections in West Bengal in five stages was an act of dis- crimination against the state.india Updated: Mar 26, 2006 13:23 IST
The Left Front alleged on Thursday that the Election Commission’s decision to phase out the elections in West Bengal in five stages was an act of dis- crimination against the state.
Pointing out that even the Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir elections had been held in four phases, they asked why this state — which has a much better record of law and order — should have a five-phase poll.
A day after the CPI(M) raised similar objections to the EC’s decision, the Front held an emergency meeting and gave the issue another twist, saying the Commission had taken a similar atti- tude towards Kerala — a state where the Left has high hopes of returning to power this time. Polling in three phases in that state, as decided by the EC, was un- precedented, Front chairman Biman Bose said.
Stopping just short of accusing the EC of taking a partisan stand against the Left, Bose said: “Tamil Nadu will have a one-day poll. In Assam, which is a much larger state, it will be a two- phased one. Only Kerala and West Ben- gal have been treated differently. This is discriminatory, unwarranted and un- precedented.” The Left Front chairman also argued that the poll schedule for the state would hit examinees hard. “The inter- est of examinees, students and their worried parents was not taken into con sideration while preparing the poll schedule,” he said.
According to Bose, about 13.5 lakh Madhyamik and higher secondary ex aminees will be in deep trouble as the poll starts from April 17. “Add to this the plight of Part I and II examinees, who will sit for their exams between April 18 and May 8. Joint entrance exams will be gin from April 22. Tests are also sched uled in Viswa Bharati Uni versity. According to the high court order, results have to be declared within 90 days. These facts were not taken into consideration,” he said. made itLeft leader,in spite of The however, clear that raising objections, the Left was in no mood tothe EC, as enter into any conflict with had been done during the parliamentary elections. “We will accept the Commission’s decision,” he said.
In Delhi, the Left parties said there was no “satisfac tory explanation” for the EC announcement. This is the first time the two states will have such a long schedule, said a joint statement issued by the CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc and RSP. CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury said the Left was disappointed the EC had not followed the practice of consulting the parties of the state before arriving at the dates.
Kerala, with 140 seats, has always had one-day poll. Bengal, with 294 seats, has never had more than two-phase polling.