EC halts proposed visit of Bengal Guv to Cooch Behar

An Election Commission communique was sent to Governor’s office, suggesting the visit would amount to a violation of the model code of conduct…reports Asian Lite News

West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose has announced his intent to camp in the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency in north Bengal on April 19, the day the constituency goes to polls in the first phase, but the poll panel has urged him to refrain.

Sources said that the Governor took the decision after considering the record of poll-related violence in previous elections.

As per the schedule, said Raj Bhavan sources, the Governor will start for Cooch Behar from Kolkata on Thursday morning and will leave the constituency in the evening after the elections are over.

However, later in the day, a communique was sent from the Election Commission to the Governor’s office, suggesting he refrain from being in Cooch Behar on the polling day, since that would amount to a violation of the model code of conduct.

However, there was no reaction from the Governor’s House yet to the EC message.

Besides Cooch Behar, two other Lok Sabha constituencies, namely Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar, are also going for polls on the same day. However, the Governor decided to be in Cooch Behar considering the sensitivity of the constituency going by the past reports of poll violence there.

On March 16, the day the Election Commission announced the polling schedule, the Governor said that he would be on the field from day one. “I will hit the streets at 6 a.m. I will be available to the people. The political ‘holi’ with human blood that happened in the panchayat elections last year should not be allowed anymore,” he had said then.

Last month, a new portal was also launched at the Raj Bhavan through which the Governor could directly interact with the common voters in the state and address their grievances about the polls. The portal has a dedicated email through which any voter in the state can directly register their grievances.

Violence reported

Campaigning for the three Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal which will go to the polls in the first phase on April 19 concluded on Wednesday with reports of violence coming from Dinhata in Cooch Behar, one of the three constituencies where polling will be held on Friday.

In the closing hours of campaigning on Wednesday, tension flared up in a market area in Dinhata following clashes between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers.

The local Trinamool leadership accused the BJP supporters of launching an unprovoked attack on the ruling party workers which left two injured.

The Trinamool also claimed that those who launched the attack are close associates of the BJP candidate from Cooch Behar, Union Minister Nisith Pramanik.

“The attack was launched in front of the police and CAPF personnel. I request West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose to take up the matter with the Election Commission of India so that the central forces could search the residence of Nisith Pramanik where anti-social elements are hiding,” alleged Trinamool MLA from Dinhata and state minister, Udayan Guha.

However, the BJP’s district leadership rubbished the claims of the ruling party as “baseless”.

“The clashes were the fallout of the enmity between two rival groups within the Trinamool,” alleged district BJP General Secretary, Biraj Bose.

Earlier in the day, Pramanik had appealed to the Election Commission requesting restrictions on the movement of Udayan Guha on the polling day.

Other than Cooch Behar, the two other constituencies that will go to the polls on Friday are Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar. Incidentally, Cooch Behar is perceived as the most sensitive among the three constituencies.

A total of 112 companies of CAPF will be deployed in Cooch Behar on Friday, followed by 75 companies at Jalpaiguri and 63 companies at Alipurduar. The special police observer for West Bengal will also camp in Cooch Behar on the polling day.

Didi says there can be no mission without vision

On the day when the Trinamool Congress (TMC) released its manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there cannot be any “mission” without a “vision” which her party has shared with people on Wednesday.

“There can be no mission without a vision. Today, we are proud to share that vision with the people,’ the Chief Minister said in a post on ‘X’.

Banerjee said that her party’s manifesto drafted after “extensive consultations” caters to the need of every section of the society.

“Based on extensive consultations, our Manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections caters to the needs of every section of society and prioritises people’s welfare over everything,” the Chief Minister said.

“From healthcare, education, and social security to agriculture, industry, employment and women empowerment, our manifesto sets out the roadmap to take every sector forward, uplift every community and create holistic development,” she added.

Promising to implement what she has promised in her party’s manifesto, Banerjee said, “I take a solemn shopoth (oath) to rededicate ourselves to the needs of Maa, Mati, Manush.”

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is contesting solo in West Bengal after failing to reach a seat-sharing agreement with its INDIA bloc partners in the state, released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The TMC which is in staunch opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), whose Rules were recently notified by the central government, promised to do away with the controversial legislation once it comes to power at the Centre along with the INDIA bloc.

Among the big-ticket promises, the TMC announced 10 gas cylinders free of cost every year to Below Poverty Line families and free 5 kg ration to very ration card holder.

“Every BPL family will get 10 gas cylinders free of cost every year. This will also ensure environmental friendly cooking. Every ration card holder will get 5 kg ration free of cost. It will be provided to every ration-holder’s doorstep free of cost,” Amit Mitra announced.

Promising 100-days employment and houses for all poor families, Mitra said, “All job card holders will be guaranteed 100-days work and all labourers throughout the country will get minimum Rs 400 daily wage. Every poor family will get guaranteed cemented and disaster-resilient houses.”

The TMC also promised legal guarantee of Minimum Support Prices to all farmers as per Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. The MSP will be set at a minimum of 50 per cent higher than the average cost of production of all crops, the party said.

Though the TMC is part of the INDIA bloc, it does not have a seat-sharing arrangement with the other parties in the alliance, like Congress and the Left parties in the state.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC won 34 seats in the state, while the BJP had to settle for just 2 seats. The CPI (M) won 2 seats, while the Congress bagged 4.

However, the BJP came up with a much-improved showing in the 2019 polls, winning 18 seats against the TMC’s 22. The Congress’s tally dropped to just 2 seats, while the Left scored a blank. (ANI)

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