People's Democracy

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


No. 14

April 12, 2009


Darjeeling: EC Must Intervene

THE CPI(M) has urged upon the Election Commission to intervene and ensure the conduct of free and fair election in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu and Saman Pathak, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member hailing from Darjeeling met the Election Commissioners Naveen Chawla and S Y Qureshi on April 7 and apprised them of the anti-democratic, obstructionist actions of the separatist Gorkha Jan Mukti (GJM) in the constituency. The outfit is preventing all political parties, particularly the CPI(M) in carrying out any election activity in the three hill segments of the constituency by resorting to terror and violent methods.

A detailed memorandum was submitted to the Commission along with enclosures detailing the disruptive activities of the GJM. A video CD of the vitriolic speech of GJM chief Bimal Gurung at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club on March 27 threatening the minorities was also given to the Commission.

Later addressing the media persons at AKG Bhavan, Yechury said that the EC assured of prompt and effective action in this regard. He said the CPI(M) would not fall bait to GJM’s provocations for confrontation as it would go against the democratic process. “The houses of many members and sympathisers of our Party have been burnt. Our election meetings, even activists meetings are being gheraoed and obstructed” he said.

Yechury questioned the BJP – which has accepted GJM’s offer of contesting the Darjeeling seat and decided to field its senior leader Jaswant Singh – whether it approves of these anti-democratic activities of the GJM.

Nilotpal Basu charged the GJM of fomenting ethnic division and trouble in the area to disrupt the traditional unity among the people. The kind of terror prevailing in the area can be gauged from the fact that the all party meeting called by the district electoral officer could not be held due to the obstruction by the GJM. He said the BJP’s earlier candidate from the constituency Dawa Sherpa was also prevented by the GJM and now it has announced that the new candidate Jaswant Singh would be given a red carpet welcome. What transpired in the intervening period to warrant this change, he questioned.