The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stung Mamata cries Central rule

Calcutta, April 16: Alarmed at the “terror tactics” allegedly unleashed by the ruling CPM in different blocks across Bengal on the last date of filing nominations for the panchayat elections, Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee today reiterated her demand for imposition of President’s rule.

“A situation in which democratic rights of Opposition parties are being trampled demands Central intervention without delay. Where is democracy when our candidates are not being allowed to file nominations for the May 11 panchayat polls'” she asked while inaugurating her party’s new office at Topsia on the city’s eastern fringe.

She said Trinamul had already forged an electoral alliance with the state BJP and the combine would put up a “united fight” despite the CPM’s “terror tactics”. “We shall start a vigorous campaign to expose the CPM to the rural people,” she said, adding that the combine could not put up its candidates in over 22,000 gram panchayat seats across the state.

Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said the CPM was not sparing even Left Front constituents like the RSP, the Forward Bloc and the CPI. “If the Front nominees are being threatened, imagine, what is happening to our candidates in the districts,” he observed.

Roy said Mamata would be present at the BJP’s rally near the Shahid Minar on April 24 where national party president M. Venkaiah Naidu and Union minister for shipping Shatrughan Sinha will kick off the combine’s poll campaign.

The CPM’s alleged “terror tactics” unleashed on poll nominees from the combine was severely rapped by Front leaders. “It sends a wrong signal to the rural electorate if CPM nominees are elected unopposed in a sizeable number of seats,” said state Forward Bloc secretary Ashok Ghosh.

“I have information that in large areas of Hooghly and North 24-Parganas, Opposition nominees were not allowed to file nominations. This is unfair on the part of the Left Front which has been in power for over 25 years,” he added.

Sukumar Ghosh, a secretariat member from the RSP, said the CPM ignored minor partners in almost all the districts by not giving them adequate seats.

“In fact, we have reached a consensus only in three districts—Burdwan, West Midnapore and Bankura. In the remaining districts, the Left Front does not virtually exist at the grassroots due to the CPM’s big brotherly attitude,” he added.

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