Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ensure Free and Fair Elections in Darjeeling Hill Areas: Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi, April 25: CPI (M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury today urged election commission to ensure free and fair elections in Darjeeling hill areas in West Bengal. In his meeting with the election commissioners, SY Qureshi and VS Sampath, Yechury submitted a representation along with some suggestions. Yechury, who returned recently from Darjeeling after addressing election rallies, requested the EC to ensure the presence of central para military forces after the polling day for some time in order to ensure safety of voters in that area. The separatist Gorkha Janamukti Morcha is in public threatening the people not to vote for the CPI (M) candidate. They have threatened the voters of dire consequences if they violate their diktat. In this situation, Yechury asked the EC to take all necessary steps to ensure that the poll process in the hill areas of Darjeeling would be free and fair, and in line with the model code of conduct issued by Election commission.

Addressing the press after meeting the election commissioners, Yechury told media that election commission concurred with the opinion of the CPI (M) that in Darjeeling, the opponents backed by GJM are violating the Para two of model code of conduct issued to the parties. He also criticized BJP for its double standards on the issue of separate Gorkhaland state. He pointed out while the state unit of BJP is opposed unequivocally to the formation of Gorkhaland state, the central leadership is contesting in Darjeeling, assuring GJM that they will support the demand for the formation of Gorkhaland state after the elections.

Responding to the charges leveled by Rahul Gandhi, Yechury said that his father Rajiv Gandhi also leveled such baseless charges by saying Kolkata was a dead city, a dying city. Then people of the state voted the Congress out of Bengal. Yechury expressed his confidence that the people of Bengal will do the same in this election too. He also said that before giving such statements, one should verify facts. He informed the press that a committee headed by Montek Sigh Ahluwalia reported that even after the reforms, because of which the state governments are at loss for resources, the Bengal government is implementing good number of welfare schemes, having a positive impact on the reduction of poverty in the state. Even World Bank is in agreement with the fact that Bengal state government’s human development indicators are the best. He asked Congress leaders not to belittle people’s consciousness on which basis three generations of people have continuously elected the CPI (M). In response to another question about supporting Congress or taking Congress support in the post poll scenario, he said that the Left went in to elections with the objective of forming a non-Congress secular alternative government at the centre. He expressed confidence that objective will be achieved.

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