Kolkata: The Election Commission has showcaused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for violation of the model code of conduct, Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi said here on Thursday. The poll watchdog is also set to initiate legal action against Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal.
“It was brought to the knowledge of the commission that a statement was made in Asansol that Asansol district will be set up, and (there were) certain other utterances which are contained in our notice,” Zaidi told the media.
On threats by Birbhum district Trinamool president Anubrata Mondal that the opposition would “vanish” on the day of the polls there (April 17), Zaidi said the poll panel was taking action.
“Barring one, all political parties have brought to our attention the alleged incident in the district and the commission is initiating urgent legal action against any such person. You will come to know soon,” he said.
Asked about the shifting of officials on allegations of lack of impartiality, Zaidi said: “It is under active consideration of the commission.”
Ahead of the visit of the full bench, opposition parties (including the Congress) lodged complaints against chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta for allegedly acting at the behest of the Trinamool.
“Not exactly. Our CEO will do his level best to ensure the exercise is conducted in appropriate manner,” Zaidi said on a poser on the opposition demanding the CEO’s removal.
The full bench of the Election Commission of India held day-long meetings with police and administration officials and also met delegations from various political parties ahead of the next phase of the state assembly polls scheduled for April 17.
However, an unmoved Banerjee said she stood by whatever she had said.
“They (the opposition) have complained to the Election Commission against me. Whatever I have said I stand by my point. I still stand by my point.
“The CPI-M, Congress and the BJP have their men in the Election Commission. Even if 40 letters are sent, that would be fruitless. Can’t rob me of my democratic rights. Whatever I have said, I have done the right thing. I will say the same thing thousands of times,” she said at an election rally in Murarai of Birbhum district.
Banerjee said she would ask the opposition to reply “inch by inch” for the canards and disinformation spread against her.
“I will take replies inch by inch against the canards and disinformation spread against me. And also against the injustice done to me, and the character assassination they have indulged in.”
Banerjee also lashed out againt the poll panel for threatening legal aciton against Mondal.
“Why should Anubrata be arrested? Why shouldn’t (CPI-M leader) (Mohammed) Salim? What has Anubrata done? Why shouldn’t (state Congress chief) Adhir (Chowdhury) be arrested?
“Why shouldn’t (CPI-M leader) Sujon (Chakraborty), Biman (Bose) and Buddahdeb (Bhattacharjee) be arrested?”
She also alleged that the EC has changed 300-350 officers-in-charge and even removed the Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
“You have removed police officers every day. Even the Kolkata police commissioner, the brightest of police officers, has been removed. You have changed 300-350 OCs. You are doing whatever the Congress, BJP and the CPI-M asks you to do.”
“Are we not human beings also? Why should everythign be done unilaterally?” said a fuming Banerjee.