People's Democracy

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


No. 14

April 12, 2009


CPI(M) Memorandum To EC  On Darjeeling Situation

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury, and central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu met the Election Commission on April 7, 2009 and submitted the following memorandum urging the intervention of the EC to ensure free and fair polls in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal.

The list of annexures submitted along with the memorandum include: letter to the Election Commission dated March 10, 2009 by the CPI(M) Darjeeling district committee; copy of the letter sent to the Returning Officer of 4-Darjeeling parliament constituency dated March 10, 2009 by the CPI(M) Darjeeling district committee; published news report in Uttarbanga Samvad from Siliguri regarding the conspiracy of rigging and booth capture by GJM in Darjeeling hills dated March 31, 2009; letter to the CEC regarding the attack unleashed by GJM on Jibesh Sarkar, CPI(M) candidate for the constituency and unlawful obstruction by GJM dated March 27, 2009; communication to the Returning Officer, 4-Darjeeling parliament constituency on holding of all-party election meeting dated March 10, 2009; published report in Himalay Darpan, a Nepali daily published from Siliguri, about the GJM role, obstruction to allow free election campaign to Dawa Narbulada, candidate nominated by Congress and Dawa Sherpa, the candidate who was earlier nominated by the BJP dated April 2, 2009; Video CD of the speech of Bimal Gurung at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club on March 30, 2009, synopsis of the objectionable part of the speech (in English) and copy of the report of this speech published in The Telegraph; and copy of communication of CPI(M) West Bengal state committee to the chief electoral officer, West Bengal.

WITH a great sense of concern and anguish, we would like to draw your attention to the abnormal situation prevailing in the 4-Darjeeling parliament constituency in the state of West Bengal where the right of Left Front nominated CPI(M) candidate Jibesh Sarkar is being undermined by the terror unleashed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

At the outset, we would give you the background of the present situation. In three hill sub-divisions viz Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong which fall under 4-Darjeeling Parliamentary Constituency, it is the GJM which is dominating physically with force and violence pursuing the separatist slogan of Gorkhaland. The GJM is playing havoc by not allowing other parties, particularly the CPI(M) to campaign in those hill areas.

Our Party has, time and again, informed the Election Commission, Chief Election Officer, West Bengal, District Election Officer and other law enforcing authorities about the prevailing situation, despite that no perceptible improvement is there in the ground level condition.

The summary of the situation can be described as follows:

    1. Our activists are not being allowed to move freely in their own areas, not to speak of campaigning for the election

    2. Those activists and supporters of the Party who attend the meetings are threatened and social boycott is enforced through the crude use of force and violence in the localities

    3. CPI(M) district office was forced to be closed down earlier on March 27, 2009 when our candidate Jibesh Sarkar went to Darjeeling for meeting the voters. He was forced to withdraw from the area and the Party leadership was kept gheraoed for a long time inside the Party office.

    4. Our festoons and hoardings were not allowed to demonstrate in different areas of Hills and the foot hills as well by the gangs of the Morcha

    5. The GJM is also threatening the Tibetan, Muslim and other minority communities with dire consequences if they do not vote for the Morcha-supported candidate. This complaint has also been lodged with the All India Minority Commission which is an independent constitutional body.

In the background of all these, we urge the Commission to take it up with the CEO of West Bengal and other concerned authorities to ensure that an appropriate atmosphere for a free and fair election is created in the three assembly segments of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong assembly segments of the 4-Darjeeling Parliament constituency. We strongly feel that the security arrangement should not only been ensured for the polling day but for the entire period of campaign in the run up to the elections. We particularly draw your attention to the need for ensuring the safety and security of our candidate and our activists and sympathisers during this campaign period. We also urge strong action be initiated against Bimal Gurung, the GJM supremo for his vitriolic speech intimidating the minorities like Tibetans and Muslims (content is part of the CD placed in the annexure). We also request you to ensure that official meetings for the constituency in which representatives of political parties have to attend are held in Siliguri instead of Darjeeling.

We also urge you that the counting of votes should take place in Darjeeling, Siliguri and Islampur as in the past. In the event of the counting for all the assembly segments centrally at one place, we would like to suggest that it should be held in Siliguri and not in Darjeeling. Our apprehension is that it is not possible to hold the
counting in a normal and peaceful atmosphere in Darjeeling.

We are hereby appending all relevant past communications, as well as, written and video material to substantiate our contention.