Hours before the final phase of Lok Sabha polling, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Election Commission on Saturday to ensure “peaceful and impartial” elections in the state without the interference of the BJP.
The EC should ensure that Sunday’s polling is held without the “undue interference of the central government” and any “intervention by the ruling party at the Centre”, Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister said in the letter written on her official letterhead.
Polling will be held in nine Lok Sabha constituencies in and around the city, including at Diamond Harbour where her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, considered to be the number two in Trinamool Congress, is seeking reelection.
“In the final phase of the election tomorrow, I would request your good office to kindly ensure that election is completed peacefully, impartially and without any undue interference of the Central government and any intervention by the ruling party at the centre,” Banerjee wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.
She also requested the poll body to “protect democratic institutions and the federal structure of the country and extend due respect to the opposition parties”.
Questioning the impartiality of the EC, Banerjee said the state has seen a number of “illegal, unconstitutional and biased decision during the election process because of the influence of the central government and the ruling party (BJP) at the centre.
As a result, not only the state administration and its officers but also the common people of the state have been harassed and attacked in various manners, she wrote.
In this context, Banerjee referred to the permission granted to BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in the city by the EC appointed police commissioner by withdrawing the prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr PC.
“The roadshow was itself a deliberate, intentional and a criminal conspiracy to vandalise the culture and heritage of Kolkata and West Bengal and also to defame the West Bengal government and its people,” her letter read.
Violence had erupted on arterial Bidhan Sarani in north Kolkata during Shah’s roadshow on May 14 in which a bust of the 19th social reformer, polymath and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance was desecrated.
BJP and TMC supporters fought pitched battles on the streets and Amit Shah escaped unhurt but was forced to cut short the roadshow and had to be escorted to safety by police.
The Trinamool Congress supremo also questioned the appointment of two retired government officers as EC special observers and not in accordance with the law.
“These two special observers have shown partisan attitude and have always complied with the instructions given time and again by the central government and the ruling party at the Centre. All these issues were brought to the notice of the Election Commission of India but no justice has been done,” she alleged in her letter.