Trinamool Candidate Dies Of Covid, Wife Accuses Election Body Of Murder

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The wife’s move came two days after the Madras High Court’s stinging criticism of the Commission’s handling of the elections in five states.









Election Commission “singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid”: Madras High Court

Kolkata:

The wife of a Trinamool Congress candidate who died of Covid, has filed a murder case against the Election Commission.  Kajal Sinha, the party candidate from Khardah, died on April 25. His wife Nandita Sinha has now accused Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain and other officials of “careless and negligent” behaviour that led to the death of husband and several other candidates.

Accusing the Commission of “self-serving blind motives”, Nandita Sinha, in her complain to the police, wrote while the entire nation was “struggling to cope with the coronavirus crisis” the EC decided on a staggering eight-phase polls in Bengal that stretched from March 27 to April 29.

“In comparison, elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry were held and completed in one day in one phase… And Assam saw voting in three phases in a span of three days,” she wrote.

In the complaint, she also mentioned that the Trinamool Congress had requested the Commission twice — on April 16 and Aril 20 — to club the remaining phase of polls citing the “massive flare-up of Covid cases” in the state.

The Commission had “frivolously replied (citing) its illusory and cosmetic safeguards in the form of prohibition of campaign after 7 pm and extension of the silent period from 24 to 72 hours,” she wrote.

The Commission, she said, had “deliberately ignored all evidences of the impending catastrophe” even after an alarm was sounded by the Calcutta High Court.

Nandita Sinha’s move came two days after the Madras High Court’s stinging criticism of the Commission’s handling of the elections in five states.

On Monday, the court had said the Election Commission was “singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid”. “Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” the judges had observed.  

In a statement yesterday, the Commission said enforcing Covid safety measures is the job of state governments and not that of the Election Commission. The poll body, it indicated, is only responsible for conducting free, fair and safe elections.

In her complaint, Nandita Sinha pointed out that the Election Commission was in control of the law and order in Bengal and the Central paramilitary forces during the election, and was in a position to ensure that Covid protocols are maintained.

Earlier, the Calcutta High Court had censured the Election Commission on the same lines. “The Election Commission is empowered to act, but what is it doing about polls in these Covid times? The EC is just passing circulars and leaving it to the people. But the EC has implementing authority,” the court had said.

The Trinamool Congress has vehemently criticised the Election Commission for the unprecedented eight-phase polls. It has also accused the Commission of being a stooge of the BJP, which is hoping to capture power in the state.

Concerns about violence had been voiced the loudest by the BJP and the Commission, while announcing the polls, had indicated that security played a role in the decision.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said after the elections, she will approach the Supreme Court over the issue.

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