Now, Trinamool doesn't find Bengal poll panel 'beautiful'

Kolkata, July 10 (IANS) While West Bengal Advocate General Bimal Chatterjee earlier created controversy by likening the State Election Commission (SEC) to a "beautiful woman throwing tantrums", a Trinamool Congress leader has said he did not find the commission "beautiful".

Addressing a Trinamool rally in Mangalkote in Burdwan district Tuesday, state Transport Minister Madan Mitra said: "The commission was angry when it was described as a beautiful woman throwing tantrums by the advocate general. Had I been in his place, I would not have made the comments. I don't find the commission beautiful."

The advocate general made the comments before a bench of the Calcutta High Court during the hearing of a petition filed by the SEC seeking adequate security measures for the rural polls.

Mitra also sought to defend his July 7 comments wherein he had said the commission "will have to wear bangles and hide behind a veil" after the upcoming panchayat (rural body) polls in the state.

"The commission is feminine. So what is the problem if a woman wears a bangles or a veil?" added Mitra. The West bengal State Election Commission is headed by Mira Pande, a woman officer.

Relations between the Trinamool government and the SEC have nosedived over the past three months over a plethora of issues concerning the polls.

With the elections slated to be held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the ruling party has been launching attacks against the SEC and its chief Mira Pande.

Continuing the attack on Pande, Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy Wednesday accused Pande of emboldening the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Maoists who have hatched a conspiracy to create trouble in the state.

"The CPI-M and Maoists who have conspired to disturb peace in the state are getting emboldened because of Mira Pande," Roy said at a party gathering in Nadia district.

While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed to take "revenge democratically" against the SEC and even rued her inability to remove Pande as the panel's chief, her ministers and party leaders have been vocal in deriding the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

Party parliamentarian Suvendu Adhikari Tuesday likened Pande to an "ant about to die" and accused her of sabotaging the five-phase rural polls beginning July 11.

"An ant gets wings when it is about to die. Comrade Mira Pande is on the prowl to sabotage the elections. I know which malady needs which medicine. We will not allow her to scuttle the elections," said Adhikari.

The parliament member from Tamluk constituency though later retracted his statement, saying he had not called Pande an ant. His target was the political parties which have been trying to disrupt peace in the state.

While the opposition has been critical of the attacks on the SEC and Pande, Trinamool leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay has urged his partymen to refrain from making unwarranted comments.

"The comments must have some taste. We must not forget that we are role models and people follow us. Some of the comments that have been made are not at all acceptable," said Chattopadhyay.

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