Kolkata, Apr 17 UNI | 3 months ago

Election Commission Special Observer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh today categorically denied that there was any 'specific complaint' about major malpractices in today's elections in any of the four constituencies in North Bengal where over 70 per cent votes were polled till 1500 hours.

Addressing a news conference at the state Election Commision's office for the first time after his arrival here last night, Mr Rakesh, flanked by Chief Electoral Officer(CEO) of West Bengal Sunil Gupta and other senior officials, said today's polling in all the four constituencies in Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar was progressing by and large peacefully with no major report of any rigging or malpractices.

When his attention was drawn towards a series of complaints, lodged by the Forward Bloc this morning about the alleged rigging and vote looting in several booths under three assembly constituencies of Natabari, Sitalkuchi and Coochbehar West allegedly by the ruling party workers, Mr Rakesh denied receiving reports of any specific incident of violence or any major electoral mal-practices from anywhere.

'But, yes we indeed have received some reports of electoral malpractices from some places under Coochbehar constituency and immediately asked the observers and the District Election Officer cum the District Magistrate to look into these complaints and send their report to the EC for further action, if any."

Highlighting the important role of the media towards bringing many instances of electoral malpractices and violation of election code of conduct either by the political parties or their candidates to the notice of the Election Commission, Mr Rakesh urged newspersons to bring more 'specific instances' to the notice of the Commission to ensure immediate step by them.

However, he made it clear that in absence of any specific complaint and purely on the basis of any allegation the EC would not inititiate any legal action.

"Our job is to ensure a free, fair and violent free election," he reiterated and assured that all actions had been taken by the office of the CEO to deploy the entire central forces in today's poll duty including those in polling booths.

"Please show us the visual proof that they were sitting idle in diffrent police stations so that action could be taken," he said and urged everybody not no get swayed by any rumour or false complaints.

Incidentally Mr Rakesh,a former CEO of Bihar and an IAS officer of 1983 batch and known for his honesty and strighforwardness, has been appointed by the Election Commission of India as a Special Election Observer to oversee the first phase of the five phase poll in the state.

(Posted on 17-04-2014)