Lalgarh tribal group asks people to vote against CPI-M (Lead)

April 24th, 2009 - 12:20 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) Protective sand bags, special search lights will be used and a large number of central forces deployed by the Election Commission for Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal’s troubled Lalgarh, as an influential tribal group called for voting against the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
According to a tripartite agreement Wednesday among the Election Commission, the state government and the tribal body People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), elections for the 49 booths at Lalgarh block in West Midnapore district will be conducted in four villages - Baro Pelia, Choto Pelia, Dalilpurchawk and Khasjungle.

State chief electoral officer Debashis Sen said an additional observer will be appointed in each of these four venues for smooth tracking of the poll process.

An Indian Air Force helicopter will also be kept in reserve near the polling stations, he said.

The Election Commission is also arranging special shuttle bus services for ferrying voters from particular points to the polling stations.

Volunteers will also be appointed with assistance from the Block Development Officer to help the villagers find their way to the booths, the election official said.

Meanwhile, the PCAPA Thursday urged people to vote against the ruling CPI-M.

Spelling out the PCAPA stand, its leader Chhattadhar Mahato said people could support any party other than the CPI-M.

“We wanted a common opposition nominee in our constituency. But since there are several such candidates, people are free to vote in favour of any of them. But we shall not vote for the CPI-M,” Mahato said.

Angry over alleged police excesses in the past, tribal leaders in the Lalgarh area, which has around 40,000 voters and falls under Jhargram constituency, had earlier said they would not allow the police to enter the area to enable polling April 30.

Terming Wedensday’s pact as a victory of the PCAPA, Mahato said a procession would be taken out Friday.

But Mahato for the first time condemned the landmine attack on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy in November last year as also the murder of four CPI-M activists recently.

Trouble had erupted in Lalgarh after police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women following the landmine blast on the route of Bhattacharjee’s convoy near the Bhadutala area.

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