People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 16

April 16, 2006

Keshpur Raid: EC Observer Action Illegal


Following is the text of the letter written by CPI(M) central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu to the chief election commissioner on April 6, 2006


I AM constrained to forward the appending memorandum addressed to you by the West Bengal state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the subject of 'raid conducted on CPI(M) offices under instructions of an observer' at 219 Keshpur (SC) assembly constituency.


The memorandum is self-explanatory. In continuation of our discussion with you and other members of the Commission on April 3, this is another instance of blatant and illegal misuse of power by the concerned observer Manmohan Singha. I may also add that it is absolutely clear that the raid did not produce a single objectionable item as the seizure list shows 'nil recovery'. The fact of the raid being conducted at the instance of AITC leaders is also substantiated in vernacular press reports. We do not know whether you will term this action as not prompted by any 'malafide', the description you had used for the other two observers mentioned in our memorandum of April 3.


We do not know whether the observer has any executive powers to order such a raid? Neither do we know whether this raid was authorised either by the Returning Officer or the Chief Electoral Officer or the Commission itself. But what we clearly know is that this action is clearly illegal and cannot be sustained in terms of any law, rule or direction of the ECI. The outcome of the action objectively reveals an inclination to malign our Party and terrorise our workers, sympathisers and the people at large on the basis of baseless charges by the AITC.


This substantiates the point that we had made about the conduct of some of the observers for the West Bengal assembly elections. Unfortunately, in spite of repeated assurances we have not received any written clarification from your side about the complaints that we had lodged against Deepak Prasad, R N Dash .and subsequently through my letter about Lingaraj Panigrahi, observer for 251 Bankura assembly constituency on the complaint of the CPI(M) candidate (copy of my letter to Balakrishnan is attached).  We do not know whether this absence of clarification is helping the Commission to hold a free and fair poll for the West Bengal assembly.


Finally, in the present case, the illegality of the action initiated by the observer is established prima facie. Therefore, we urge upon you to initiate immediate action against the observer concerned for 219 Keshpur assembly constituency and keep us informed about your action.