How the CPM suppressed EC report on West Bengal rigging
By Basudeb Pal
The Parliamentary election was nothing but a farce in West Bengal. “Last year´s parliamentary election in West Bengal for the 42 constituencies was a farce and Election Commission should reject the poll process. The top leaders of CPM and key persons of state administration had acted themselves as a barricade to have a fair and free polling. If Election Commission can appoint a chief election officer from outside West Bengal who knows Bengali language only then free and fair election will be possible in West Bengal.”
The above lines have been quoted from the report of special observer Afjal Amanulla appointed by the Election Commission, submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner of India T.S. Krishna-moorthy. His report was final and most explosive but did not see the light of day. It may never come to light. It is not only the reports of Amanulla but other ighty-seven such report sent by two hundred observers of the Election Commission which are revealing. The central leaders of CPM prevailed upon Krishnamoorthy and his two colleagues B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswamy not to make the reports public.
The CPM leaders were afraid that if those reports came to light the so-called democratic image of the party will be damaged. The reports narrate the full picture of the technique by which the party cadres, election officers and the administration managed to capture 35 parliamentary seats out of 45 by unfair and illegal means.
Another reason to suppress the report was that Amanulla prescribed how free and fair election will be possible in West Bengal in this report. Amanulla, IAS officer of Bihar cadre enjoys a reputation for his honesty and spotless service record. He is now appointed as joint secretary in Delhi. He came to West Bengal as election observer in January last year. The Election Commission sent him to West Bengal after receiving a lot of complaints from various human right organisations and others about pre-poll terror created by CPM cadres. The objections were very serious. The Election Commission had adapted the same procedure in Bihar.
The report of special observer Afjal Amanulla during last Parliamentary election in 2004.
Amanulla´s experience of arranging free and fair poll in Kashmir Valley in the face of the threat from Jehadi ultras is well known. He succeeded in bringing the voters to polling booths to exercise their voting rights in areas like Kupwara. In West Bengal he made the state government transfer two Superintendents of Police of Nadia and North 24 Pargana.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose demanded the observers to be pushed out of the state. Amanulla informed the Election Commission that in such a situation it is impossible for him to observe the poll process. The central leadership of CPM realised that election might be postponed and so they went to the Chief Election Commissioner in Delhi and begged forgivance. Biman Bose was advised restraint. Amanulla´s report described how the ruling party terrorised the voters, before election. They sent white cloth to Hindu married women and coffin to the Muslim women who are not their supporters, indicating that they will be widowed if the Left Front candidate lost.
He reported that a superintendent of police of a border district directly worked in favour of CPM and Amanulla warned him to change his working style. The allegations against him was that he tried to help the CPM in three parliamentary seats by arresting the workers of the opposition.
That S.P. admitted to the observer that he acted as ordered by political leaders of ruling party in return for an early promotion and a good posting. These confessions have been recorded in the report sent by the observer to the Election Commission.
The report also mentioned that motorcycle brigade of the ruling party ran immediately before and after the polling to terrorise the voters. He wanted to ban motor cycle but the notification was prepared in such a manner that the purpose was damaged. Objection about motorcycle brigade came from village areas regularly.
Chief observer Amanulla recommended several suggestions for free and fair polling in West Bengal in his report.
The chief election commissioner of the state must be appointed from outside West Bengal. But he should know Bengali very well, though he might be Bengali or non-Bengali and his service record must be spotless.
Whenever the state Election Commissioner was appointed from Bengal cadre he normally bent under pressure from ministers or leaders of the ruling party. The unpublished report also questioned the voter list and suggested to checking of the list thoroughly. The report mentioned that polling officers must come from other states as was done in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government servants? unions and other organisations are too much politicised. It is impossible for them to give neutral behaviour. The trade unions of police (Non-gazetted Police workers union) and homeguards actually appealed to vote in favour of the ruling party just before election.
?In such an atmosphere free and fair election can not be held? the report noted.