The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday imposed a seven-day campaign ban on Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA Narendranath Chakraborty for the April 12 Asansol Lok Sabha by-poll for threatening BJP voters. The poll panel acted after the Opposition party filed complaints with it and the police the day before.
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Chakroborty, who represents the constituency of Pandabeswar in Paschim Bardhaman district, was caught in a video saying, “Jara kottor BJP, jader thamano jabe na, tader chomkate hobe. Bolben, aapni jodi vote dite jan tahole dhore nebo BJP ke vote deben. Voter por apni kothay thakben seta apnar nijer risk. Aar jodi vote dite na jan tahole dhore nebo aapni amader somorthon korchhen, apni bhalo bhabe thakun, byabsa korun, banijyo korun, chakri korun, amra apnar songe achhi. (Threaten those who are hardcore BJP supporters and cannot be stopped. Tell them that if they step out of their home to vote, then we will deduce that they voted for the BJP. If they want, they can take the risk. If they do not vote, then we will know they supported us. Then, they can stay wherever they want…do business, trade, or jobs, we will be with them).”
In its order, the Commission said it “deplores the impugned statement” of the MLA and “censures him for the above said violation”. It added, “Furthermore, the Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and all other powers enabling in this behalf, orders to prohibit him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, roadshows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) etc in connection with ongoing bye-election for a week ie 7 days from 10 am of 30th March, 2022 (Wednesday) till 8 pm of 6 April, 2022 (Wednesday).”
In response, Narendranath Chakraborty told the media, “I am for peaceful elections and whatever the Election Commission of India orders, I will follow that.”
Chakraborty started his political career with the Congress’s student organisation Chhatra Parishad. He was among the first to switch to the TMC when Mamata Banerjee floated the party in 1998.
He was initially close to Paschim Bardhaman district leader Malay Ghatak but later became a part of TMC Birbhum chief Anubrata Mondal’s faction.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, the party considered fielding Chakroborty from Pandabeswar. But months before the polls, the TMC strongman was arrested at Kolkata airport while trying to board a Chennai-bound flight with an unlicensed firearm. This episode reportedly led to the party dropping its plans to field him and the ticket ultimately went to Chakroborty’s rival Jitendra Tiwari, who won the seat.
Fortunes turned in Chakroborty’s favour before the 2021 Assembly polls when Tiwari, the former Asansol mayor, joined the BJP. The Trinamool leader quit his job at Eastern Coalfield Ltd and got the ticket from Pandabeswar. He retained the seat for the ruling party by defeating Tiwari.
Asked about the EC’s decision to suspend Chakroborty from campaigning, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told The Indian Express, “We are not justifying what he said. But, why did the ECI act only against Chakraborty? The candidate has also threatened to beat rivals. The ECI did nothing, it is biased.”
Hitting out at the ruling party, state BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “The TMC never has a political agenda to place before voters. It only knows how to loot votes. The authorities should arrest Chakroborty for making this threat.”
Source: india Express