The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Biman cries bias

Calcutta, March 2: Left Front chairman Biman Bose has alleged that the Election Commission discriminated against Bengal and Kerala by deciding to hold elections in five and three phases in the two states.

Bose, who discussed the issue at a Left Front meeting today, said the EC's decision was 'totally uncalled for and unprecedented'.

'The EC resorted to discrimination regarding Bengal and Kerala. Why did it choose these two states (for polls in so many phases)' Bengal does not have law and order problems and there has never been a three-phase poll in Kerala,' Bose said.

The Front chairman said elections in Kashmir and Bihar were held in four phases but a five-phase poll was the first of its kind in the country.

'Though Assam's geographical area is huge, there will be a two-phase poll there, while Tamil Nadu will have a one-day poll. This prompts us to say that the EC discriminated against Bengal and Kerala while preparing the election schedule,' Bose said.

CPM state secretary Anil Biswas had said yesterday that the EC did not consult the party before preparing the poll schedule for Bengal, though it did so with political parties of Tamil Nadu.

'What made Tamil Nadu different from Bengal though both the states have more or less the same population and Assembly seats' Biswas had asked.

The Trinamul Congress said the CPM was against the election schedule as it was not comfortable with a system that could lead to fair polls.

'Explaining why it opted for a five-phase poll in Bengal, the EC had said it was done to ensure free and fair polls,' said Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy.

However, the Front said it would abide by the EC's decision. 'We accept the decision and are ready to face the electorate and come out with flying colours,' said Bose.

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