Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bengal Elections, updates

The CPM has threatened a mass uprising if elections in West Bengal are held under Presidents rule. or if the polls are postponed for "flimsy reasons". Given the sorry state of the electoral rolls in Bengal the election commission might be forced recreate the voters list, this might lead to a delay in elections, so a "mass uprising" is on the cards.

Udayan Namboodiri argues that a Presidents rule might not be a bad deal for CPI(M), with their fellow Communists of the Maoist persuation targetting them in certain districts.


Whenever assembly elections in West Bengal are held, it better be under President's rule. Otherwise, the ruling CPI (M), will be unable to put up candidates in at least three districts - Purulia, Bankura and West Medinipur - for fear of Maoists massacring their candidates.

"We will punish anybody given a ticket by the CPI (M)," declared a statement issued by an unidentified Maoist leader now in circulation in the three districts. "The people are with us. They have had enough of the terror perpetrated by the Marxists, their exploitation and corruption. We will not permit even campaigning to take place. However, we will not stand in the way if other parties want to contest".

The Statesman reports that the election commission has found gross anomalies in the system of issuing ration cards in the Malda district.

The Election Commission observer for Malda, Mr D Singh, has detected gross anomalies in the system of issuing ration cards in the Malda district, officials today informed, after his departure.
The official said that Mr Singh specifically drew the attention of the concerned officials towards the abnormal ratio between people issuing ration cards and the actual population, which was comparatively very low.
Mr Singh had also noted that the rate of voter’s enrolment in the electoral list is 40 to 50 per cent, whereas, the percentage of ration card holders is as high as 90 to 95 per cent in some areas of the district, such as Kaliachak.
The EC observer personally examined the ration card records starting from the year 2000-01 to 2005, and also checked the average rate of ration cards issued in previous years after comparing it with the rate of population recorded in the last three census in the Malda district.
Officials inform that yesterday, he sought all reports on the food supplies department and studied it minutely till the last minute of his departure.
Personally visiting some blocks close to the Bangladesh border dominated by both the Hindus and the Muslims, the observer also inquired the district officials about the ration card and electoral photo identity cards held by Bangladeshi nationals residing in the border areas.
“Inspite of the lack of specific information, the EC observer was confident that a good number of ration and EPIC cards were owned by the Bangladeshi nationals residing in the border areas. The observer strongly suspected that it was particularly due to this reason why there was a major difference between the ration or EPIC card holders and the actual population”, a senior district official said.
As such, ration cards are now being verified as per the instructions from the Observer, sources said. State officials fear that if the observer reports it to the EC recommending deletion of Bangladeshi nationals from the electoral list, it will prove really difficult to identify the persons as they managed to get the ration card made in their names by illegal means.
On the other hand, a group of political leaders are demanding that pending applications for fresh ration cards including neo-citizens by birth should be released immediately.
The LF convener and the district CPI-M district secretary had submitted a deputation to the EC observer demanding assurance of EPIC for all and revision of ration cards issued by the district authorities.
“Many people inspite of being Indian citizens do not possess a ration card. At the same time, holders of fake ration cards are availing all the benefits”, said Mr Jiban Moitra, district secretary of the district LF.



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