The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stung CPM stings Mamata

Calcutta, June 7: A day after Nadia district magistrate Krishna Gupta was removed as returning officer for violating the model code of conduct, the CPM leadership today accused the Trinamul Congress of making attempts to disturb the poll process in Nabadwip.

The Nabadwip Lok Sabha seat is set to elect its representative tomorrow.

“Even after the deadline for campaigning is over, Mamata Banerjee is camping at Kalyani in violation of the model code of conduct. She is neither a voter of the Nabadwip Lok Sabha nor the election agent of her party candidate. But still she is travelling in the constituency with an intention to disturb the poll process,” alleged CPM state secretary Anil Biswas.

Biswas added that he had lodged an official complaint with the Election Commission in Delhi on this issue. “Mamata is moving in the constituency along with some anti-socials and criminals in two Tata Sumo cars,” he said.

In a related development, the state administration has taken elaborate security arrangements to ensure free and fair polls for tomorrow’s byelection in Nadia district and Vidyasagar Assembly constituency in the city.

Chief electoral officer Sheikh Nurul Haque today said preparations were over and added that polling material have been despatched to the different booths. Central observers for both the constituencies have already reached their concerned places.

Deputy inspector-general of police Narayan Ghosh said all 1,647 booths under Nabadwip constituency have been declared sensitive and at least five armed policemen will be posted in each polling station.

He said over 7,500 police personnel, along with Rapid Action Force and the armed police, would be deployed in Nabadwip. Apart from Nadia district police, security forces will be deployed from other districts and Calcutta.

Divisional commissioner and former Chief Electoral Officer S.K. Magon, who has been appointed the district returning officer replacing Gupta, said he would make all efforts to hold a free and fair election.

Commenting on the removal of the Nadia district magistrate, Magon said at Krishnanagar: “The incident is very unusual and unfortunate. The Election Commission has appointed me after consultation with the state government. As I have been directed by the commission, I must abide by it. As Nadia district falls under my division, I know the area well and do not face any problem.”

The counting for the two constituencies will be held on June 11. The counting for the Nabadwip parliamentary seat will be held at Bongaon, Kalyani and Krishnanagar, while counting for the Vidyasagar constituency will be held at Jessop building.

Opposition leader Pankaj Banerjee today alleged that the CPM had been using bureaucrats and the police to win the elections since 1982. “We had been complaining about this since 1982, but no action was taken by the commission so far. But our allegation came true as the Election Commission of India has removed the district magistrate of Nadia who had met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during his poll campaign in the district. We had lodged the complaint with the Commission by sending a fax message when the district magistrate was in meeting with the chief minister. We are keeping a close watch on all the bureaucrats in the state,” he added.

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