At Any Cost Bengal Polls Should Be Peaceful: Zaidi

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Kolkata: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi on Tuesday assured all political parties of a free and fair Assembly poll in West Bengal beginning from 4 April, even as the opposition parties urged the poll panel to probe a ‘sting’ operation allegedly involving some leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Nasim Zaidi said, “At any Cost I want a peaceful Election at Bengal. All the polling stations will be monitored by Central security forces. The entire election will be monitored by CCTV cameras. There should be no violation of moral code of Conduct. Within 48 hours all flags, banners and hoardings which violate the moral code of conduct should be removed. All candidates must follow the EC norms to contest election. Anyone found violating the moral code of conduct will be taken strict action. No personal high and low will be entertained. There will be a 900 member static surveillance team. The crime squad will be GPS enabled”. The session was attended by al districts heads. Also Present at the meeting was election commissioner A K Joti and Om Prakash Rawat.

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Opposition CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb said they have requested the poll panel to take action against those TMC leaders, purportedly shown in the ‘sting’ operation, according to constitutional provision.

He said the CEC assured them to look into the problem. “We also demanded reinstatement of some officials removed by the ruling party ahead of the polls and removal of hoardings in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” he said.

Congress leaders also raised similar demands during their meeting with the poll panel.

The opposition leaders said Zaidi assured them to go through their complaints and suggestions for a fair poll.

Representatives of the ruling Trinamool Congress too met the poll panel with a list of suggestions, which the CEC has also assured to look into.

Simultaneously, Senior TMC leader Mukul Roy lodged complaint against poll panel’s declaration of six-phase elections in the state.

“It is virtually a seven-phase election, as the first phase poll will be held in two parts on different dates. Then why this camouflage?” Roy asked the CEC.

“We are ready to face multi-phase elections in the state, but it is an insult to the people of Bengal,” he said.

The opposition CPI(M), Congress and BJP lodged various complaints with the poll panel against the ruling TMC, while demanding measures for free and fair poll.

The full bench of the Election Commission led by the CEC arrived in Kolkata on Tuesday on a two-day visit to the state to review poll preparedness.

Apart from meeting EC officials of the state and political parties, the poll panel full bench listened to the representatives of ‘Save the Democracy Forum’ and former West Bengal State Election Commissioner Meera Pande.

While Pande urged the poll panel to ensure free and fair poll to allow people to exercise their franchise without any fear, Save the Democracy Forum representative Justice (Retd) Asok Kumar Ganguly requested the poll panel to see that all FIRs were looked into and steps taken.

The CEC would meet the DMs, SPs, other senior officials in the state and media persons tomorrow.

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