The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Subhas invites red card from EC

Calcutta, April 10: On a football field Subhas Chakraborty would have invited a red card, but it’s not yet clear what the Election Commission will make of his second outburst.

Action, if any, will be decided after the commission receives the report it has commissioned from the district magistrate of North 24-Parganas on the transport minister’s comments at a public meeting at Dum Dum last night.

“Remember, the elections will soon be over. You have been appointed by the state government. Don’t you have a responsibility towards that government'” he had said, his comment addressed to a section of the police force which he accused of working in connivance with the commission.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was present at the meeting.

Chakraborty is already on a yellow card for his first offence when he called state government officials drafted in for poll duty “stooges” of the commission. “They (the election officials) are acting as the EC’s stooges despite being on the state government’s payroll.”

After an enquiry and a notice to the CPM, for which the party tendered an apology, the commission filed an FIR against Chakraborty.

Neither the action ' nor the public disapproval from the chief minister ' has had a sobering impact on the CPM leader. Bhattacharjee had said after the first incident that Chakraborty had “realised” that he had made a mistake.

Obviously not. This time, even Jyoti Basu, by whom Chakraborty swears, told The Telegraph his remarks were “uncalled for”. “He has made a mistake. We’ve already apologised to the EC for his earlier remarks. There was no need for him to make such comments. We’re confident of winning this election ' people’s support is with us,” Basu said.

If lucky, Chakraborty will escape with a reprimand. If not, he could face forfeiture of his candidature.

Bhattacharjee refused comment on last night’s remarks. But at a meeting of the Left Front at the CPM state headquarters, he asked leaders not to provoke the commission.

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