| Biman Bose
Calcutta, May 5: The Left Front today charged the Prime Minister’s Office with pressuring the Election Commission to influence the polling process in the last leg before May 10.
Front chairman Biman Bose led the charge, taking on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for likening Bengal to Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar and saying that like in Laloo Prasad Yadav’s constituency Chhapra, people cannot cast their votes in peace here.
The Prime Minister had told a rally at Deshapriya Park in support of Trinamul Congress candidate from Calcutta South Mamata Banerjee that complaints of rigging, false voting and misuse of administration by the communists is common during polls.
Reacting to last evening’s barbs, Bose said: “The Prime Minister is ignorant about Bengal’s political scenario. The Trinamul Congress and the BJP supplied him with information. Whatever the Prime Minister said was tutored by the Trinamul-BJP combine. He should have cross-checked the information with the Union home ministry (of L.K. Advani) before making such sweeping comments.”
The front chief cancelled his morning engagements to meet the media and let the state’s ruling alliance’s displeasure known.
He said that in some cases the Election Commission was bowing to pressure from the PMO. “The NDA government is trying to pollute the election atmosphere in Bengal. The PMO is directly trying to put pressure on the commission. Some observers are behaving as if they are workers of a political party.”
Yesterday, the front adopted a resolution criticising the poll panel for “overstepping its limits” after an emergency meeting at the CPM headquarters. “We have reports that some election observers now touring the constituencies are crossing their limits by asking the electorate why they had been voting in favour of CPM candidates. I am convinced that some of them have come here with a motive,” Bose said today.
The front, he said, would write to chief election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy detailing the activities of some of the election observers.
Bose said an observer had ordered flag march by paramilitary personnel on May 8 at Bhangar under Basirhat constituency and at Canning under Joynagar. “How many members of paramilitary forces can the commission deploy' One thousand' Two at the most' The people of Bhangar and Canning will take out processions that will be 10 times in strength,” he warned.
Taking a dig at A.K. Tandon, an observer for Basirhat, the CPM leader said the officer had brought his own cook fearing that he will have to take food cooked there. “Some of the observers do not know anything about Bengal. They are whimsical, ignorant about the state and sometimes speaking not like bureaucrats but like political workers.”
Referring to the Prime Minister’s allegation that front supporters had disrupted a rally organised by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Himayat Committee, a minority forum backing him, Bose said: “The CPM has no role to play in a religious outfit. Vajpayee has no right to say such things.
Committee chief Muzaffar Khan said: “I met the Prime Minister yesterday and told him about the disruption.”