| Chakrabarty at the Malda College auditorium. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Feb. 6: In a vitriolic attack on the Election Commission, transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty today alleged that chief election commissioner B.B. Tandon was out to taint the image of Bengal.
Addressing Citu workers at the Malda College auditorium this afternoon, Chakrabarty questioned the rights and limitation of the poll panel. Lashing out at Tandon, the minister said: 'Whom is he answerable to' Some journalists' He is causing irreparable damage to Indian democracy.'
Till date, some CPM leaders had been vocal against the election panel's role in rectifying poll rolls. But this is the first time that a minister has come down heavily on the commission.
Chakrabarty wondered how Tandon, sitting in Delhi, could predict that there would be only a two per cent rise in the number of voters. The number could be much higher, he said.
'He should keep in mind that he is just a paid employee of the government. Should the paid employee or the people's elected representatives run the country' he said.
Quoting a Supreme Court verdict, the minister reminded the Election Commission that Y.V. Chandrachud, in a 452-page verdict during his tenure as chief justice, had said elected representatives, and not paid employees of the government, enjoyed supreme power in a sovereign country.
Chakrabarty said the Election Commission was issuing fatwas every day to project that democracy in Bengal was at peril.
Citing the example of Salt Lake in Calcutta, the minister said the number of residents there has increased drastically due to the growth in Sector V and voter numbers had gone up more than 'the EC norm'.
'How can the EC stop nature' It is being said nine lakh names of fake voters have been deleted. Wide publicity has been made of the numbers. Why' It is the EC's responsibility to cancel the names of those who are dead or have shifted.'
According to the minister, it is natural that those who were 14 years of age in 2001 had now become eligible to vote. 'What is Tandon up to in the name of rectifying the voters' list' Is he planning to give our state a bad name' the minister asked.
Chakrabarty said the efforts of the Election Commission and the media to disturb the state would make no difference this time, too. 'The Left Front has been in power for the last 29 years and is going to form the government for the seventh term,' the minister said.
The reason behind the Left Front government's success, he said, was its service to the people, who 'will protect us', Chakrabarty said.