People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 17

April 23, 2006

Bengal Opposition Cry For Re-Poll Turned Down

81% Polling In Three Districts


THE usual hue-and-cry indulged in by the Bengal opposition notwithstanding, the notion of a re-poll has not been entertained at the official level after the first phase polls were over. 


The Election Commission has noted that nothing untoward had happened during the poll day to merit a re-poll.  Voters cast their ballots in 5460 booths in the three districts of Midnapore west, Bankura, and Purulia on the first day of the five-phase poll in Bengal.


Preliminary estimation done by the state’s election department reveals that just under 81 per cent of the electorate has exercised their franchise on the first day of the Bengal assembly elections.


A full bench of the Election Commission in Delhi then went through the concerned documents sent up from Bengal and opined that nothing warranted re-poll in the state.  Re-polls were held in just two booths in the Jhalda constituency in Purulia where the electronic voting machines had malfunctioned.


In a statement, the Bengal Left Front has expressed its surprise at the kind of noises being made from certain quarters to frown on the high rate of polling experienced during the first phase of the polls.


The Bengal Left Front has pointed out that 97 per cent of the voters in Bengal are equipped with electoral photo identity cards (EPIC). 


Digital cameras were in operation in the booths themselves to prepare EPICS for those few who did not have them. 


Nothing has been heard anywhere that a voter’s franchise has been exercised by a proxy.


The Bengal Left Front is of the firm opinion that any talk about re-polling based on ‘high’ percentage of votes cast would serve to undermine the basis of parliamentary itself. 


Elsewhere the Supreme Court has rejected a case preferred by Trinamul Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi and two others asking for setting aside the results of the 2004 parliamentary polls in Bengal when 35 seats were in the fray.  The basis of the allegation was a so-called unpublished report of an election official.


Meeting briefly at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan on April 19, the Bengal Left Front has appealed to everybody concerned to also make the rest of the phases of the assembly elections in the state, free, fair, and peaceful.


In the meanwhile, the Trinamul Congress chieftain has gone on record to state that everybody should ‘wait for the day when the votes would be actually counted,’ and that ‘then they would get a big surprise,’ not caring to elaborate on this decidedly quixotic quip.