The controversies surrounding the Election Commission (EC) decision to transfer seven top officials in West Bengal refuses to die down with the All India Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy directly holding the EC responsible for the killing of a TMC worker Badol Mondal alias Badal Sheikh.
Roy told reporters on Wednesday the killing in Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituency (Jalangi Bidhan Sabha) had followed the transfer of Humayun Kabir, the SP of Murshidabad, just a day ago. Roy said TMC leader Mamata Banerjee had already expressed her apprehension over law and order in the state after the decision of the EC, which had been instigated by the Congress and its leader Adhir Chowdhury.
He said he was sure Chowdhury had ordered his goons on the murder, excited by the EC order. The officials were allegedly transferred in the districts of Murshidabad, West Midnapore, and Malda where the Congress had put up strong candidates and would want to win. He said the TMC has already made official complaints to the DG Police, the current SP of the area and the EC, and asked for Chowdhury’s immediate arrest. Mamata Banerjee, while refusing to budge on the EC’s transfer orders, had directly named Adhir Chowdhury and said the EC was working in favour of the Congress candidate from Behrampore Lok Sabha constituency.
This follows closely Chowdhury’s demand that Mamata Banerjee be arrested for her comments against the EC. He lashed out at Mamata for making “fun” of the constitutional norms and asked for an immediate arrest. He complained she was getting ready to unleash terror during elections, a plan that now had been upset by the EC order. He reminded the people of Mamata’s similar contempt for the State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey during the panchayat elections held in the state last year, over the election dates and the use of Central forces for the sake of free and fair elections.
This is also not the first murder charge on Adhir Chowdhury; he was chargesheeted by the police in September 2013 for the alleged murder of another TMC worker, Kamal Sheikh, who was murdered in 2011. Chowdhury’s name was included along with eight others, after which the court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
While the TMC might be screaming from the rooftops over the allegations of murder on Chowdhury, Mamata herself shared the dias at a rally on Wednesday with Birbhum TMC president Anubrata Mondal, the main accused in the Parui case, which involved the killing of Sagar Ghosh, father of estranged TMC activist Hriday Ghosh. The investigation here is being lead by the DGP of the state, irrespective of which the High Court has noted that a CBI probe could be required, as nothing has been done against the hate speeches by Mondal, neither has he even been interrogated as yet by the investigating SIT.
West Bengal politics, perhaps reflective of the other states in India too, has come to a state when serious criminal charges like murder against contesting candidates are brought up in public by opposition parties just before the elections to gain a few brownie points. People are reminded of murder charges against opposition leaders, reflecting a holier-than-thou attitude that can at best be useful to infuse some spice into the already dramatic election procedure. The charges rarely lead to the conviction of top leaders, nor do they deter the party from giving tickets to people undergoing trials for serious criminal charges. The freedom to choose a leader who frames the backbone of a democracy is made a mockery of when the lawmakers of the state refuse to be law-abiding citizens themselves.