Left Front asks governor for fair panchayat polls

Kolkata, June 17 (IANS) Accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of mobilising criminals to attack opposition party activists ahead of the panchayat polls, the Left Front Monday sought West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan's intervention for deployment of security forces.

In a memorandum, the Left Front drew Narayanan's attention to the law and order situation and claimed that dacoity, theft, extortion, murder and other criminal activities were on the rise, while the "most horrendous types of attacks on women are taking place".

"These criminals are being mobilised by the ruling party to attack opposition leaders and activists, especially those of the CPI-M and other Left Front partners," the memorandum said.

Alleging that since the issue of notification for the polls the Left Front partners have come under attack, it said the Trinamool was preventing the Left parties from submitting nomination papers.

The Left Front stated that in most cases police refused to give protection to its candidates. "Instead, police personnel are implicating the candidates, proposers and seconders in false cases and arresting them."

"As a result, more than 5,000 candidates either could not submit their nomination papers or were forced to withdraw under the violent pressure of the local ruling party leaders who are aided and abetted by the local police administration."

"They have created total terror in many parts a good number of candidates and their family members are being evicted from their houses. Even the Trinamool, in league with the hoodlums, is attacking houses of Left Front candidates to put pressure on them to withdraw their candidature," the memorandum said.

The memorandum sought Nrayanan's "active intervention" for deployment of "sufficient security forces immediately" to create a congenial atmosphere for the polls.

"We also demand to you to ensure free, fair and peaceful election. We feel that only your active intervention and your cooperation to the State Election Commission can help overcome the present impasse," it added.

Following a bitter legal battle, the commission and the state government had concurred on the schedule of the three-phase elections for 17 districts to be held July 2, 6 and 9.

The revised poll schedule was announced last month following a direction by the Calcutta High Court to conduct and conclude the polls before July 15.

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