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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 April 2024

INDIA bloc bouncing back even as it lost lot of time: CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya

The CPI(ML) leader said that Nitish Kumar’s exit may have appeared to be a setback, but the alliance is bouncing back

PTI New Delhi Published 27.02.24, 02:49 PM
Dipankar Bhattacharya

Dipankar Bhattacharya File photo

Exuding confidence that INDIA bloc is bouncing back, Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya has said the seat-sharing agreements between the opposition parties are getting finalised in various states despite a lot of time having been lost.

In a video interview with PTI, Bhattacharya also expressed concern over the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), an issue which has been flagged by almost all the opposition parties, and demanded 100 per cent counting of VVPAT.

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Asked about the INDIA bloc, which witnessed a series of setbacks beginning with the exit of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) followed by a seat-sharing talks with the Trinamul Congress (TMC) in West Bengal hitting a roadblock, Bhattacharya said the bloc is "bouncing back".

“The developments in the last few days, the forming up of seat-sharing commitments in UP, Delhi... I think the INDIA alliance is very much getting its act together. On ground things are quite compact, anger has only grown, especially the way farmers are being treated, Subhkaran Singh's martyrdom, I think all this is only adding to the anger," Bhattacharya told PTI.

The CPI(ML) leader said that Nitish Kumar’s exit may have appeared to be a setback, but the alliance is bouncing back.

“INDIA (bloc) is bouncing back, Nitish Kumar's exit was a bit of upset psychologically speaking, that was the perception. And Congress' loss in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan probably was because the INDIA factor did not reflect properly, if that had reflected the results would have been different. I am sure it will bounce back more in the coming days,” he said.

He said even as they lost a lot of time, the agreements were getting finalised, and they are aiming at "maximum seat-sharing". “I am hopeful, of course we lost a lot of time, but in spite of all this, the alliance is intact and is able to put its act together, so it makes people hopeful. And anyway, we knew from the very beginning that 100 per cent seat adjustment will not be possible given the diverse political situation. We are aiming at maximum seat-sharing and we are progressing in that direction,” he said. Bhattacharya said the seat-sharing in Bihar is likely to be finalised before the March 3 rally of the opposition bloc in Patna. With the opposition parties rallying against the Electronic Voting Machines and demanding 100 per cent VVPAT counting in the upcoming polls, the CPI(ML) leader hoped their concerns will be addressed.

“There is a basic demand that we go back to ballots. These are machines, can't trust them, especially when you cannot really trust the people handling the machine. When the Election Commission no longer has the kind of neutrality it has. We saw what happened in Chandigarh. If the BJP could go this way just for 36 votes for the mayoral election, imagine what the election machinery could be up to when you are voting for 543 seats,” Bhattacharya said. “People's doubt I think is very much valid. We came up with an alternative formula - 100 per cent counting of VVPAT... If those slips are counted, it can serve the purpose for the time being,” he said.

Referring to the new law on appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners, Bhattacharya said the law was brought to overturn a Supreme Court decision, which showed the government is "not ready for free and fair elections".

“The way the Supreme Court ruling on the Election Commission was overturned by the government, definitely the government is not ready for free and fair elections. The SC should make way for 100 per cent VVPAT counting,” he said.

The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023, provides that election commissioners will be selected by a panel led by the prime minister, with the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union cabinet minister as members.

On the Supreme Court judgement scrapping the electoral bonds, Bhattacharya said that people should take the decision forward by punishing the party responsible for bringing the “unconstitutional scheme” for electoral funding.

“Electoral Bond judgement was a bit late, but not too little. The other thing is that money that the BJP amassed through the electoral bonds, the money is with them. It is the ill gotten money. What the Supreme Court left unsaid, that's in the people's court now. If the scheme was unconstitutional, the government which deliberately inflicted this unconstitutional scheme should be punished. That is something for the people to complete by voting out this government,” he said.

The CPI(ML) leader stressed that the issue of livelihood is most important for the upcoming elections and played down the impact of central schemes like Ujjwala, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and others stating that their implementation was poor.

“Look at the implementation of the schemes, that is very poor. This government’s biggest scheme is their publicity scheme. Everywhere there is Modi. For example in some places they have started denying ration because there were no photos of Modi on the bags," Bhattacharya said. “These schemes are also not adequate. People are saying we don't need your free food. What we need is jobs. Farmers are saying we don't need Kisan Samman Nidhi, we need legal guarantee on the MSP,” he added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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