Impose prohibitory orders for Bengal fifth phase: Left Front to EC

Kolkata, April 28 (IANS) Amid West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s constant attacks on the opposition for imposing Section 144 on poll dates, the Left Front on Thursday demanded the prohibitory orders be put in place again on the fifth polling day on April 30 to “deal with unlawful assembly of criminal elements”.

“In the fourth phase, the proclamation of Section 144 in districts that went to the polls has helped maintain law and order. We demand the same should be declared in Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and Hooghly for the next phase,” the Left Front said in a memorandum to state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta.

“This should be done as early as possible to deal with the unlawful assembly of criminal elements,” the memorandum said.

Trinamool Congress supremo Banerjee has been constantly attacking the Election Commission for the measure and has accused it of working “at the behest of Opposition (CPI-M, BJP and Congress)”.

Banerjee has also accused the central forces of “torturing” voters.

Expressing apprehension that “criminals are being brought from other districts in Kolkata, South 24 Paraganas and Hooghly”, the Left Front also requested border sealing and route marches and searches to “flush out outsiders”.

The memorandum, signed by Left Front spearhead CPI-M state secretariat member Rabin Deb, also requested the poll watchdog to verify people’s identity in the light of information that the Trinamool “has started to bring their activists and criminals from other districts with plans of rigging and widespread false voting”.

Further, the Left Front also sought the EC’s intervention regarding Banerjee’s “public utterances” and “threats” against the poll panel, central forces and opposition parties, which they say, is “creating an atmosphere of terror and instigating post-poll violence too”.

Meanwhile, during the day, Banerjee took a swipe at the Opposition for seeking imposition of “curfew” on people’s movements during poll dates.

“The public has to come out and vote. They are not being able to move out… what is this? They are just imposing section 144 (prohibitory orders) to restrict movement.

“Since they (Opposition) are scared that they can’t win, they are saying impose curfew. After destroying Bengal, they are asking Delhi (read Election Commission) to impose curfew. People will snatch their own democratic rights.”

Imposition of prohibitory orders, a standard operating procedure on poll dates, was strictly implemented by the Election Commission during the fourth phase of the assembly election on April 25.

Many Trinamool candidates including ministers had then lashed out against the poll panel and the central forces for doing “excesses” and putting curbs on the normal life of the people.

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