People's Democracy

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


No. 22

June 02, 2013



Terror Tactics in Howrah By-Poll


From Our Special Correspondent in Kolkata


RULING Trinamul Congress has unleashed a spate of terror in Howrah ahead of parliamentary by-elections there. Elections will be held on June 2.


As the campaign picked up, TMC hooligan squads began to attack CPI(M) activists and sympathisers to obstruct political campaign. In many areas, TMC hoodlums are creating obstacles in the campaign of Left Front candidate Srideep Bhattacharya. TMC has unleashed hoodlums who are tearing banners, defacing wall writings. They are also moving house to house threatening Left Front workers and sympathizers, to create an atmosphere of fear.


Left Front, in a memorandum to Election Commission has alleged that in Bally assembly segment the condition has reached to such an extent that people were apprehensive that free and fair elections would not be possible there. The TMC is not allowing any meeting of Left Front in the constituency.


In a gruesome incident, TMC activists attacked and beat up CPI(M) activists in Bally just after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a public rally there. The chief minister herself spoke in threatening attitude in the meeting. TMC activists in motorbikes thrashed CPI(M) activists when they were writing posters. Pradip Ganguly, a CPI(M) leader and husband of ex-MLA  Kanika Ganguly and his daughter Anubhuti Ganguly were beaten up along with others.


Biman Basu, Left Front chairman alleged that TMC has mobilised outsiders in Howrah to disturb the entire election process. In most of the incidents, police remained mere spectators or acted at the behest of the ruling party.


The Left Front has drawn the attention of the Election Commission that about 1320 booths out of 1812 were either sensitive or super sensitive in the entire parliamentary constituency. In Bally and Howrah North assembly constituencies, almost all booths are of that nature. Left Front Chairman Biman Basu has urged Chief Election Commissioner to see the situation seriously and intervene to ensure peaceful elections.


Despite these obstacles, the Left Front activists are going door to door for campaign. Apart from processions with the candidate, face to face interactions with the voters have been undertaken. It is clear that there is perceptible discontent against the TMC regime among the poorer sections, who are now feeling deprived.


CPI(M) candidate Srideep Bhattacharya, who has been engaged in political activities since his days in Bengal Engineering College is a well known face in all localities of Howrah. He was a state level SFI leader, a leading figure in peoples’ science movement in the state. He worked as Howrah district secretary of the CPI(M) and had close links with the working class movement in the district. He is now a member of Party’s state secretariat.


On the other hand, Mamata Banerjee seems wary of the voters of Howrah. She has addressed a number of meetings in the constituency though the chief minister has not addressed a single meeting earlier in three assembly by-elections. She has also flouted election code of conduct brazenly by announcing many projects.


Another interesting feature is the withdrawal of the BJP candidate from the fray. BJP state leadership has virtually called for supporting the TMC.  Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in his public meeting in Howrah, alleged that the BJP was trying to come back on the political stage of Bengal with the help from the TMC.