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CPI(M) asks EC to tighten poll mechanism in Bengal

New Delhi: A day ahead of second phase polling in West Bengal, CPI(M) today again knocked at the door of Election Commission, asking the EC to “tighten” poll mechanism to ensure “no untoward” incident takes place “as happened” during earlier leg of voting in the state.

“We came come here to express our concerns and request tightening of the (poll) mechanism and structures so no untoward incident of the nature that we saw on electronic media and what really happened on the ground in the earlier phase does not repeat. So, we conveyed what we think needs to be done,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

Yechury made the remarks after meeting EC officials here along with party central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu. Yechury told reporters that the Election Commission has assured the CPI(M) that “all the necessary steps” will be taken in this regard.

The party also raised the issue of West Bengal chief secretary replying to a show cause notice issued to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by the Commission and insisted the TMC president “being a contestant” herself should reply to the notice.

The CPI(M) general secretary further said the delegation drew the Commission’s attention towards the state chief secretary answering the notice instead of Banerjee.

The Marxist leader said the Chief Minister’s reported remarks that Leader of Opposition and CPI(M) state secretary Suryakant Mishra be defeated and she will give “whatever” help required to achieve that amounted to “open incitement” and asked EC to look into it. “Now, this is not the way, things are said or done in the election. It is an open incitement saying that I will give you the license to do anything, but you defeat so and so.

To another question by a reporter, Yechury said that his party will keep approaching the Commission until situation is “improved” in the state. 56 constituencies go to polls during the second phase tomorrow.

Altogether 383 candidates, including 33 women, are fighting for the 56 seats which are spread over seven districts – Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda and Birbhum. An electorate of over 1.2 crore are eligible to exercise their franchise in the crucial phase.