OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

So what do you call a party winning 25 of 25 seats – a clean sweep.

Let us try this again, So what do you call a party that goes from 25 of 25 to 19 of 26 ?

According to the Dounle think of the  left of center mainstream media would be a called “sweep” too.

Well folks the secret is out from the ballot boxes in Haldia.Ruling Left Front in West Bengal survived a high-pitched campaign by opposition’s grand alliance to retain power today in Haldia Municipality, close to the trouble spot of Nandigram, the epicentre of campaign against land acquisition for industries in the state. The Front, which had made a clean sweep in the previous elections to the municipality in East Midnapore district five years back, won 19 of the 26 seats, but conceded seven to the Trinammol Congress-led ‘Mahajot’ (Grand Alliance) that included Congress and the BJP. The CPI(M) bagged 17 seats, while another Front partner CPI claimed two seats. For the Mahajot, Trinamool Congress candidates won half a dozen wards, while the PDCI clinched one. The PDCI was formed by Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind leader Siddiqullah Choudhury.

The left front was quick to claim this as a referendum on its policy of industrialization.

“I am happy that we could win despite a virulent campaign by the opposition who resorted to slander and intimidation. This is a mandate for industrialisation,” said Haldia municipality chairperson Tamalika Panda Seth.

“This time even Jamiat leader Siddiquallah Choudhury resorted to a communal campaign. However, the people voted for industrialisation,” said Laxman Seth, MP and chairman of Haldia Development Authority (HAD).

But here is the problem with the outcome in Haldia.

The Statesman reports that

the people of Nandigram fear a backlash by armed CPI-M goons once results of the Haldia municipal polls are declared. It says that the  apprehension of the residents of Nandigram is not without a cause. For the past 48 hours, armed CPI-M cadres have been issuing open threats through the public address system at Sher Khan Chowk off Khejuri. The cadres have warned of severe consequences “worse than 14 March” to wrest back their stronghold.

The Statesman also reports that

At least one incident was enough to prove that Sunday’s election to the Haldia municipality was not free and fair. Both the police and the presiding officers acted openly for the CPIM, enabling the cadres to rig the poll by jamming the booths and other means, perhaps which has no parallel in the sub-continent.

The chairperson of the outgoing civic board, Mrs Talalika Ponda Seth, seeking re-election from ward number 24, entered different booths without any hindrance either from the law enforcers or the presiding officers.

But her lone Trinamul contender, Mrs Champa Rani Majhi, was dragged out from booth number 87-A by the police, though as per as the election commission’s regulations no candidates can be barred from going inside the booths.

It is amazing that only The Statesman is the lone jarring voice across the entire mainstream media in calling out the communists in Bengal. Contrast this with how the mainstream media maintains a hawk like glare on Narendra Modi ruled Gujarat so that even the most minor of infractions is magnified and reported nationally to give the impression that the Constitution has broken down in Gujarat and the minorities live in fear.

Offstumped Bottomline: The mahajot has definitely made a beginning in Haldia albeit a small one. What else can one expect in a State where the ruling Communist Party operates like a organized mafia and the distinction between the State and the Party had long blurred. It is a shame that the mainstream media has not exposed the CPI-M for what it really is. This once again reminds us of the need for a Right of Center Media Movement to bring back the much needed balance to news media reporting and opinion making.



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