statesman news service
KOLKATA, 14 JUNE: A day after the ruling of a Calcutta High Court Division Bench on the primacy of the state election commission in holding rural polls, state Congress today charged that the Mamata Banerjee government was deliberately not requisitioning Central forces for the poll despite the Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s assurance to make the forces available.
The Union minister had recently clarified that the chief minister spoke to him on requisitioning Central forces for the rural poll and he readily agreed to provide the forces as per requirement. “But the Centre is yet to be informed of the requirement of such forces,” Mr Pradip Bhattacharya, PCC president said.
“The reasons for the state government’s persistent refusal to deploy Central forces for the rural poll are known to all. It’s clear that the new government is bent on subverting the democratic process and rig the panchayat poll beginning on 2 July. For this the ruling party needs its muscle men and a pliant state force. This is why the state government is deliberately not responding to the Union home minister’s offer,” Mr Bhattacharya.
Responding to the accusation, industry minister Partha Chatterjee said it was the chief minister who had called up Mr Shinde and requested him to send Central forces for the rural poll.
“We are still awaiting a response from the Centre to the state’s demand for Central forces. The state Congress has become a circus party and every day its leaders are levelling incoherent and illogical allegations,” Mr Chatterjee said.
The PCC chief said the district president of the Congress in Jalpaiguri, Mr Mohan Bose, has been hospitalised after being attacked by Trinamul-supported criminals at Bhaktinagar. "On the other hand, Surjamohan Debnath, a veteran leader of the party in Alipurduar has been murdered by CPI-M backed goons," he said.
"Congress nominees are being intimidated to prevent them from filing nomination all over East Midnapore," he said. "Houses of Congress nominees are being attacked as part of this intimidation campaign". The party will bring the matters to the notice of the commission and seek its intervention in this matter, he said.
Trinamul Congress all India general secretary Mukul Roy refuted the charges. "Actually the Congress is finding it extremely difficult to field its candidates in gram panchayat and panchayat samiti seats as the Congress workers are gradually losing faith in the leadership. Today only three Congress councillors of Titagarh municipality today joined the Trinamul Congress,” Mr Chatterjee said.
Mr Roy and Mr Chatterjee today held a meeting at Trinamul Bhavan with rural poll candidates of Hooghly. Later, Mr Chatterjee said Trinamul candidates were elected uncontested in six seats of the zilla parishad of which five in Khanakul and one in Tarakeshwar. Asked whether the Trinamul will face any problem in Singur as the unwilling farmers are yet to get back their land, Mr Roy said, the farmers know that it was Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee who decided at the first cabinet meeting to return their land. "So we will win in each block of Singur,” Mr Roy said.