Madras HC Observation Against EC A Shot In The Arm For Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee felt vindicated, and welcomed the Madras High Court’s observations on Monday, blaming the Election Commission (EC) squarely for the second wave of COVID-19 in India.

Assembly elections have been completed earlier this month in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry, while eight-phase polls in West Bengal will end on April 29.

Addressing a virtual election rally, Mamata stepped up her attack on the EC by calling it BJP’s ‘parrot’.

“I welcome the order of the Madras high court. The court has clearly said that the EC can’t shrug off its responsibility for the rise in COVID-19 cases. It has become a parrot and a mynah of the BJP. It is because of them that COVID-19 cases have shot up,” Mamata said.

Mamata repeatedly urged the poll panel to cut down on polling days in the state, and club two or three phases together to check the spread of coronavirus.

She has even threatened to move the Supreme Court after the polls to make the EC impartial.

The TMC chief received support from other parties. Shiv Sena said in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ that the EC is biased against TMC. “The Election Commission is biased against Mamata Banerjee. It is our request to the EC with folded hands that it should not listen to the BJP alone, but to everyone. It should not be biased,” it opined.

Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, who a judge in Calcutta High Court, made scathing remarks to pull up EC.

“Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19… Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” Banerjee said.

Mamata has continuously accused the EC of acting under instructions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

She alleged that the poll body was following orders from the Centre, which is why it did not heed to her request of clubbing some phases, just after third-round polling was completed.

“The EC was silent on banning roadshows and rallies because the PM (Narendra Modi) was scheduled to hold rallies. Interestingly, soon after the PM cancelled his public meetings in Bengal, the EC on the evening of April 22 issued a notification to restrict political meetings. What a coincidence! It is unfortunate that the EC is appeasing BJP leaders,” Mamata alleged.

On Sunday, the West Bengal chief minister came up with WhatsApp chat transcripts, purportedly between poll observers and police officials, to prove how the EC is playing favourites to the BJP. “They refer to TMC workers as ‘trouble mongers’ are instructing preventive detention… The chats are between Sudip Jain, Vivek Dubey, observers and the DM and SPs. At one place they have mentioned ‘as per as our plan’ – what do you mean by that?” Mamata asked.

The EC dismissed Mamata’s charges.

“Such statements supposedly attributed to ECI Officers and Observers are absolutely baseless, false and misleading. No such instructions have been given by any Observer, Chief Electoral Officer or Officer of the Commission to act against workers of any Party (ies). It has also been reported that CM would be taking the matter to the honourable Court (s). No court case has so far been reported to CEO, WB’s office or the Commission where any instance of preventive action against a non-criminal has come to the notice. Misleading narratives apart, leave alone any court case, no specific instance of illegal preventive action against any worker of party has been reported till 25.4.21.”

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