TMC MPs meet EC; list 'shortcomings' of poll body during Bengal polls

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New Delhi, Apr 14 (PTI) Stepping up its criticism of the Election Commission, a delegation of TMC MPs on Wednesday met its officials and submitted a memorandum alleging shortcomings of the apex poll body during the assembly polls in West Bengal.

It said that the party is bringing on record the 'deplorable' state of affairs of the Election Commission in respect of its approach towards the TMC and the BJP in West Bengal during the ongoing assembly elections.

The TMC listed instances under three categories -- inaction of the EC, underaction of the EC and overaction by the EC.

In the first category, the party listed speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah alleging that they have made statements that are in 'violation' of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as well as the Representation of The People Act 1951.

The party has also provided YouTube links of these speeches to the EC.

'The ECI claims that it monitors speeches. However, it has not taken any action for such serious violations. For all the above, Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah should be banned for campaigning for the remaining phases,' it said.

The TMC also alleged that other than being in violation of the MCC, these speeches were in 'poor taste' and 'are also disrespectful to women'.

Under the category of 'underaction of ECI', the party has listed instances of various middle level and lower level leaders of BJP who have allegedly tried to influence voters on communal lines.

'Despite the ECI being aware/made aware of the ground on which those speeches are violations of the MCC, the ECI refused to take sufficient steps and/or any steps, though in all such cases there should have been a ban on campaigning,' it said.

In the third category of 'over-action', the party listed the restraining of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC boss Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours.

'Such an act is mala fide, suffers from non-application of mind and is in violation of her fundamental rights. ECI was formed under the Constitution of India to be an independent body that would monitor and conduct general elections in India. Neutrality is sine qua non in discharge of its functions but during this assembly election, it is apparent that ECT is acting in a partisan manner, absolutely in favour of the BJP and/or on its instructions, that is pre-announced by BJP,' it said.

The delegation that met the EC include parliamentarians Derek O'Brien, Kalyan Banerjee, Pratima Mondal and Santanu Sen. PTI ASG ZMN