May 3, 2009


DARJEELING,2nd May: As we have reported elsewhere, the elections in the hill areas of Darjeeling were rendered into a political sham on poll day, 30 April 2009. It had rained, indeed poured heavily throughout the morning and into the early afternoon.

Yet, it was found by late morning that a massive percentage of polling had been done in an astonishingly short period of time. This could only be done if buttons on the EVMs are pushed in a continuum without a break. The whole process reeks of a political sham.

The issue also raises several important questions:

1.What were the elections officials doing when this farce of a poll was taking place? Why they would not speak out, far less than file a written complaint about what was taking place, which was nothing but a breach of the Model Code for elections.

2.What happened to the five companies of paramilitary troopers who were assigned for duty in the hills? What prevented them from being present around the hill polling booths?

3.A strong demand was made to the ECI to ban and disband the Gorkha Land Personnel (GLP) – and it was found it was the GLP itself that was engaged in conducting the polls in the hiulls. In fact, they were in charge and in a harshly threatening mood all the time.

4.Throughout the polls despite complaints, the process of wiping away of the name and style of West Bengal Government and substituting it for ‘Gorkhaland Government’ was allowed to continue -- and the protests were in vain. The ECI could have also taken suo motu action from reports and photographs published in various news papers and magazines.

Finally and surprisingly, despite complaints, the ECI would not order re-poll in a single booth in the hill areas, opting instead for re-poll in two booths in the plains.

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