Kolkata, April 1:
The Election Commission Tuesday sought a report from the district magistrate following allegations by a election Model Code of Conduct (MCC) team that they were roughed up by Trinamool Congress activists after posters and festoons of the ruling party were removed in West Bengal’s Howrah district.
“We have asked the district magistrate to submit a action-taken report in the incident immediately,” Amit Roy Chaudhury, officer on special duty and ex-officio joint secretary in the chief electoral officer’s department, told reporters here.
The incident in Howrah’s Vivekananda Road comes days after a block development officer in North 24 Parganas district lodged a police complaint alleging he was assaulted by Trinamool activists for removing party banners and posters.
“Trinamool posters and festoons were put up inside a school which goes against the MCC. When we tried to remove them, a large number of party activists attacked and assaulted us,” said a MCC team member.
Police have initiated investigation into the matter.
“We have been informed about the incident and ordered the SDPO (sub-divisional police officer) to look into the matter and after that we will take action,” said Deputy Commissioner (headquarters) of Howrah police commissionerate Nishat Pervez.
While the Trinamool leaders blamed “overzealousness and bias” of Election Commission (EC) officials for the fiasco, opposition parties attacked the ruling party accusing it of employing “terror tactics”.
Local Trinamool legislator and state Agricultural Marketing Minister Arup Roy said an internal probe has been ordered by the party but accused the poll panel of acting in a biased manner.
“We have ordered a probe and whoever is found guilty will be punished. But the EC has been acting in a complete biased manner and is influenced by the opposition parties,” said Roy adding that the MCC team did not pull out any Communist Party of India-Marxist posters that were illegally put up.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit chief Rahul Sinha too condemned the incident and accused the Trinamool of employing “terror tactics and intimidate poll officials”.
“What can you expect from the workers when Trinamool leaders prescribe to administer rat poison to rivals or cut of their heads? They are not even sparing EC officials,” said Chowdhury.
CPI-M leader Sridip Bhattacharya, contesting from Howrah, accused Trinamool of creating a vicious environment in the area.
Incidentally, a day earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called “demons” all those who have been removing her posters.
“There are some demons who, in connivance with our rivals, are pulling down my posters. But I pity them, because they can remove my posters but cannot remove me from the heart of the common man,” she had said Monday addressing a rally in West Midnapore district.