The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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Coming up soon: ‘serious’ whining
- Trinamul complaints versus the rest

Calcutta, March 28: The Trinamul Congress appears to have woken up to the virtues of being a crybaby.

The party has decided to lodge complaints with the Election Commission (EC) against the Opposition in an apparent attempt to deflect the poll panel’s attention from allegations of electoral malpractice by the ruling establishment.

Trinamul sources said today that the party would lodge “serious” complaints against the Left, Congress and the BJP every three to five days, a strategy perfected by the then ruling Left during the 2006 and 2011 Assembly elections and the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Since the strengthening of the EC following electoral reforms nearly a decade ago, the Left Front used to lead the way in lodging complaints against the Opposition for violations of the model code of conduct. Trinamul seems to have taken a leaf out of its rival’s book.

Trinamul’s “plan” of flooding the commission with complaints comes in the wake of the EC mounting pressure on the authorities in the districts to initiate prompt action on complaints of model code violations.

Today, the authorities of all 19 Bengal districts received a directive from the EC headquarters in Delhi to act on allegations of violations and file action-taken reports within 24 hours of receiving complaints. Officials on deputation to the commission during the elections have been told to be on the lookout for violations and activate the prescribed process on their own.

Since deputy election commissioner Vinod Zutshi’s meeting on Tuesday, the district administrations are under pressure to act on complaints as the commission has clearly expressed its zero tolerance of inaction on violations.

Between March 5, when the model code came into effect, and Tuesday, when Zutshi ordered officials to act promptly on all complaints, Trinamul had lodged only three grievances.

But with poll officials tightening the screws, Trinamul plans to “overtake” the Opposition parties in a fortnight, sources said.

“All district units have been instructed to lodge at least one big complaint every three to five days. If officials have to act against us on the basis of complaints lodged by the Opposition, let them do the same against our opponents based on what we say,” a senior Trinamul leader said.

Trinamul MP Saugata Roy, who is contesting the Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat, lodged a complaint with Bengal chief electoral officer Sunil Kumar Gupta this afternoon.

Roy, being investigated by the commission for allegedly inciting party workers to capture booths and rig elections, claimed today that his banners, flags and posters were being torn by the Opposition.

“I’d like the chief electoral officer’s office to take action on my complaint and not be a post box, merely conveying complaints to Delhi,” Roy said.

The complaint came as a surprise to even Trinamul leaders as they wondered how the beleaguered Opposition could take on the ruling party on the streets.

The North 24-Parganas unit of Trinamul, headed by food minister Jyotipriya Mallick, today lodged a complaint with the district administration against the CPM, Congress and the BJP for “character assassination with false and vulgar propaganda” targeting Mamata Banerjee.

“We are keeping a close watch. We will now lodge complaints once every five days,” Mallick said this evening.

Commission sources said there had been a spurt in complaints by Trinamul in the past three days.

A senior Nirvachan Sadan official said the commission would take every complaint seriously. “But baseless complaints will not hold ground. Action will be taken only when the commission finds merit in a complaint,” he said.