People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 16, 2006
EC Observers Have Executive Power?
Asks EC To Clarify
Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following
statement on April 9, 2006
Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its concern over the statement issued by
the Election Commission on “Election Commission’s decision on the report of
two-member team sent to Paschim Medinipur district”. The team has reported
about the complaint made by the CPI(M) on April 6, 2006. The Party had
complained that police forces had raided the CPI(M) zonal office in Keshpur and
the premises of one of its sympathisers under the instructions of the central
observer Manmohan Singha.
Polit Bureau is surprised to note that the conclusions of the inquiry conducted
on the entire sequence of the raid and the role of the concerned observer does
not tally with the facts revealed in the statement itself. Some of these are as
CPI(M) had complained that the observer had ordered the raid at the behest of
some leaders of the All India Trinamul Congress. The statement says the
following: “The observer then asked Pramanik to meet him at 4 p m at Circuit
House and also told the SP to arrange for necessary force for conducting the
raids”. Pramanik is the Trinamul Congress candidate for the Keshpur assembly
constituency. It is not known what transpired in the meeting between the
observer and Pramanik. The Superintendent of Police was not even informed about
the exact place to be raided. A blanket authorisation for carrying out the raids
was accorded to it in places where
Pramanik thought illegal arms could be recovered. On what basis can the observer
rely on Pramanik who is a candidate belonging to a rival party in the elections?
Further, how could the police party be asked to act on the basis of the
identifier supplied by Pramanik?
facts speak for themselves. The observer for reasons not known relied
exclusively on charges made by a candidate with vested interest in the
elections. He did not ask the police authorities or the district administration
first to verify whether these charges were true. Instead, as the Election
Commission statement points out, the observer told the SP to arrange for
necessary forces and also at Pramanik’s request for more police forces so that
raids could be conducted simultaneously at many places.
It is also a fact that the raids produced “nil” seizure report, which, of course, the statement does not find necessary to note. Further, the Commission has not taken note of the fact that the Trinamul Congress candidate had made false and malicious complaints.
There is a factual inaccuracy in the inquiry report. The raiding party consisted of a contingent of Punjab police also and was not exclusively of the state police as the report tries to make out. This is substantiated in a newspaper which is perceived to be highly critical of the CPI(M).
CPI(M) regrets that the Commission has come to conclusions which are not borne
out by the facts of the inquiry. To state that “distorted and unfounded
allegations have been levelled against the observer who performed his duty
correctly and in right earnest” seems more a post facto defence for partisan behaviour.
The CPI(M) had made complaints regarding three other observers about which the Commission has not responded. The way some observers are behaving in ordering arrests, raids etc. show that they are arrogating executive powers to themselves. It is necessary for the Election Commission to clarify whether the observers have executive powers under the present laws of the land to direct such raids.
Finally, all political parties must be concerned by the attitude adopted by the Commission which does not consider raids on the offices of a nationally recognised party instigated by electoral rivalry of an opposing candidate to be a serious matter. (INN)