People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 16, 2004
The established tradition of peaceful and free polls, a practice set into a pattern with the coming to office of a Left Front government back in 1977 was quite clearly in evidence on May 10. Left Front chairman, Biman Basu, and Bengal chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have congratulated the people for the peaceful poll process that was witnessed despite provocations aplenty.
Briefing the media at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, Bengal Left Front chairman, Biman Basu said that bar a few stray incidents where the BJP-Trinamul Congress combine and the Pradesh Congress sought to create problems, the election remained largely peaceful and free from unpleasant incidents. On an average 70 per cent of the electorate cast their votes. Basu described this as another signpost for the advanced democratic consciousness of the people of the state.
In separate incidents, before the polls three lives were lost in three separate incidents at Murshidabad, west Midnapore, and north 24 Parganas. Earlier to that two history- sheeters with allegiance for the Trinamul Congress died in a blast when the bombs they were putting together burst prematurely at Entally in north-central parts of the city.
The Left Front has called for re-poll in 34 booths. The booths where re-poll have been called were either captured or had the electronic voting machine in the booth smashed up by goons of the opposition parties. As we file this report, we come to know that the Election Commission has called for re-poll in 31 booths in all.
Speaking to the media at the Writers’ Buildings, Bengal chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said that the peaceful polling reflected the peaceable nature of the Bengal electorate. He thanked the police, the administration, the Election Commission, and the poll observers. He expressed happiness at the work of the poll observers.
On being asked what steps the state government would initiate about the FIR lodged against Left Front chairman Biman Basu at the behest of the Election Commission, Buddhadeb said that the law would take its own course. Incidentally, the FIR had been lodged against Biman Basu based on newspaper reports published about his alleged comments on poll observers. Biman Basu himself said that once he would be in receipt of the notice, he would get into the legal proceedings of the matter.