January 9, 2009

Nandigram by-poll held under Trinamool terror: BIMAN BASU

Kolkata, 6th January, 2009: West Bengal's ruling Left Front chairman Biman Basu on Tuesday said the by-election in troubled Nandigram constituency was marred by opposition Trinamool Congress threats to voters.

"Apparently everything was very peaceful in Nandigram during the assembly by-poll Monday. But the Trinamool Congress activists threatened innocent villagers of dire consequence and asked them not to cast their vote in the by-poll," Basu told a press conference here.

Nandigram, around 150 km from here, saw prolonged blood letting over land acquisition for a proposed chemical hub project in 2007. Basu said: "Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) polling agents could not reach five polling booths - 141, 146, 139, 151 and 170 - as they were threatened by Trinamool Congress activists. Later with the help of the police and district administration they could enter those polling stations."

According to state Election Commission officials, more than 81 percent of votes were cast in East Midnapore's Nandigram assembly by-election. Police said there was no report of violence or untoward incident during the peaceful election process.

"Trinamool Congress activists also beat up villagers at Sonachura and Kalicharanpur locality and tore off their Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC)," Basu claimed. He said more than 1,000 people could not cast their vote in the by-poll in Nandigram. "The election was not conducted in a fairly manner almost in 53 polling booths," he alleged.

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