Kolkata, May 13 IANS | 5 months ago

The four Left parties Tuesday described as "shocking" the Election Commission's "inability to intervene effectively" in the final round of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and demanded re-poll in all the affected polling booths in the last three phases.

In a joint statement, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Bloc called upon all democratic forces to voice their protest against the "assault" on democracy in West Bengal and announced protests all over the country May 14 in support of their demand that re-polling be held in all the affected areas under the poll panel's strict supervision of the Election Commission.

Alleging that the fifth and last phase of elections for 17 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal Monday was marked by "widespread violence", they accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of capturing over 1,000 polling booths, driving out polling agents of opposition parties and physically attacking people going to vote in various areas.

"The Trinamool Congress had launched this campaign of terror and intimidation on the eve of the polling. The entire state machinery and the police have connived in this effort to manipulate the elections," the statement said.

Refering to the violence in Haroa block under the Basirhat parliamentary constituency, the statement said "voters going to the polling booth were fired upon".

"Four people suffered bullet injuries and 17 others were injured by sharp weapons."

The Left alleged that some of the "worst affected seats" were Kolkata North, Barrackpur, Ghatal, Dumdum, Basirhat, Bongaon and Diamond Harbour.

While terming the violence as a "brazen attack on the democratic system", they noted that despite this violence, people braved the attacks and asserted their right to vote.

"It is shocking that the Election Commission has been unable to intervene effectively during this round of polling, even though there was enough forewarning about what was to come, after the earlier two phases of polling," the statement said.

Seeking urgent intervention of the EC urgently to restore conditions for a "free and fair poll", they said it could be done only by ordering a re-poll in all the affected polling booths in the third, fourth and fifth rounds of polling.

(Posted on 13-05-2014)

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