Thursday, May 14, 2009

န Manmohan Singh calls for change in West Bengal

Howrah, 1 May : Attacking the Left in its backyard, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said West Bengal is lagging behind because of the communist parties’ policies, and called for a change in the state. Addressing an election meeting here in Howrah's Dumurjala, Manmohan Singh also alleged that the Left was helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to come to power by dividing the “secular votes”.
Their stand on a lot of issues has not kept pace with time… I advice them to change their thoughts to remain on par with the needs of the time.” “In a way, they are helping the BJP in these elections by dividing the secular votes,” Manmohan Singh said.
He also said the Third Front, led by the Left parties, had no chance of coming to power. “The Third Front parties do not have any programme. They don’t have any long-term vision for the country’s development. Their single point programme is to thoughtlessly oppose every work done by the Congress.” Photo : Jayanta Ghosh

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

။ West Bengal Lok Sabha Poll ။ 2nd Day

West Bengal registers 64% polling
Kolkata, 30 April : The Left citadel of West Bengal registered a 64 percent voter turnout in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies by Thursday evening. But the largely peaceful poll was marred by a landmine blast, triggered by suspected Maoists, that injured two security personnel.'There was around 64 percent polling till 5 pm. But the figure will go up as people were still queuing up to vote' by the closing time, state chief electoral officer Debasish Sen told reporters here, describing the election as 'peaceful and secure'.
Maoists trigger landmine blast in Jamboni, 3 died
Jamboni (West Midnapore), 30 April : A landmine blast triggered by the Maoists claimed the lives of three persons, including two polling officials in West Midnapore district Today.The blast, which took place at around 6:00 pm in Jamboni region of West Midnapore district of the state, was triggered using a remote device. The blast was aimed at the polling officials returning from election duty under the security of paramilitary personnel. Two polling officials and the driver were killed in the blast.
Lalgarh & Belpahari, 30 April :
A paramilitary soldier stands guard as voters queue up at a polling station in Lalgarh. Photo : PTI
(Left) An armoured vehicle of India's Border Security Force (BSF) passes a buffalo cart during polling at Belpahari village, about 185 km west of Kolkata. Photo : Reuters
Polling fails to kick off in Naxalite hit areas in Bengal
Kolkata, Midnapore, 30 April : The spectre of Maoist violence was literally stalking the first phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal today as polling could not start in most of the special booths in Naxal-dominated areas in West Midnapore due to high tension. A large number of cans looking like landmines were recovered from Pirakata forest by the side of the Pirakata special booth. In all, 20 cars and busses carrying Central forces along with polling personnel had been stopped near Laljal by the PCAPA activists not allowing them to proceed further. Polling personnel for Laljal booths had been denied to proceed further towards their booths apprehending greater trouble. The entire tribal belt of Belpahari, Banspahari, Lalgarh, Jamboni, Bhulaveda, Goaltore and Salboni was worst hit by the Naxalite menace.

။ Polling begins in West Bengal amid tight security

Kolkata, 30 April : Polling began in West Bengal for 14 of its 42 Lok Sabha seats amid tight security in the northern and Maoist-hit western regions on Thursday. The polling centers opened at 7 am to enable 16 million voters to choose their nominees to the Lok Sabha from among 134 candidates in the first phase of the polls in a state ruled by the Left Front without a break for 32 years.
The three Maoist-hit districts of Bankura, Midnapore West and Purulia pose the biggest security challenge. Authorities have requisitioned three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters for constant air surveillance and shortened polling time by two hours in six pockets most affected by Maoist violence in Jhargram, Binpur and Bandwan in Midnapore West and Balarampur, Bagmundi and Jaipur in Purulia.Tension soared Wednesday as Naxalites posters asking people to boycott polls appeared in various parts of the state, including Kolkata, throwing the adminstration and police into a tizzy.

In Lalgarh block in the Jhargram constituency of Midnapore (West) district, agitating tribals blocked the movement of central security personnel. The securitymen could finally move out of the area, but not before furnishing bonds. The polling officials in the Maoist belt were kept in clusters on Wednesday and moved to the booths early Thursday, ringed by security personnel.
Besides five seats in the three districts, nine constituencies in six north Bengal districts; Darjeeling (where GJM is hoping to realise its dreams of a new Gorkhaland state out of parts of northern Bengal with the help of the saffron party BJP), Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda - are going to the hustings. Besides Jaswant Singh in Derjeeling, other high profile candidates in this phase include Deepa Dasmunsi, the wife of ailing Congress heavyweight Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi who is contesting from his constituency Raiganj against the CPI (M) Bireshwar Lahiri and a formidable independent Abdul Karim Chowdhury.
West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats. While 17 seats go to the polls 7 May, the other 11 vote 13 May.
Photo : Reuters

။ 2 jawans injured in landmine blast in Purulia

Near polling station at Biramdih
Purulia, 30 April : Maoists exploded a landmine near a polling booth at Biramdih in West Bengal's Purulia district on Thursday, injuring two Central paramilitary force jawans.The jawans were patrolling the area when the Maoists exploded the landmine at around 7.50 am following which polling was suspended at the booth, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Yadav told Bengal Newz. The SP said security reinforcements have been rushed to the area.The main contest in Purulia Lok Sabha seat is between Narhari Mahato (All India Forward Bloc) and Shantiram Mahato (Congress) supported by the Trinamool Congress. Photo : Reuters

။ Sonia shares dais with Mamata, slams WB's Left Front

We are extremly happy to have Mamata here with us : Sonia Gandhi
Aligarh Muslim University campus in Murshidabad : Pranab Mukherjee
Jangipur, 27 April : Sharing the dais with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for the first time in eight years, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Left parties for failure to support UPA government on the nuclear deal issue. "To meet the growing energy requirement, we went for the nuclear deal, but the Left opposed us saying it was not required," Sonia Gandhi said addressing an election meeting in this key Lok Sabha constituency from where external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is contesting.
Attacking the Leftists in the Left Front ruled state, she said that the ambitious rural job scheme, NREGA, was not implemented properly in West Bengal. Gandhi accused the Left Front West Bengal government of paying lip service to the poor and downtrodden sections of the society though Leftists swore by their name and claimed themselves to be their 'messiah'.Taking a dig at the hordes of prime ministerial aspirants, Gandhi said "these days it a fashion to aspire for prime ministership. But the Congress aim is to serve the country and its people." Seeking votes for the Congress-TMC combine, Gandhi said there is a need for secular and stable govt at the Centre. "I am sure you will vote for the combine to ensure a stable and secular government at the Centre," she said. Targeting minority votes in the state, Pranab Mukherjee announced setting up of Aligarh Muslim University campus in Murshidabad district of the state.
The trio will also be touring Lalgola, Murshidabad, Malda, and Jalpaiguri. Gandhi had last shared the platform with Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata during state Assembly elections in 2001 after which the TC supremo had joined hands with the NDA.

။ What Elections ? Ask Mousuni island

At Mousuni island in West Bengal’s Sundarbans, it hardly looks like election time. Though there are no party flags or posters, politicians do come to the three villages in the island seeking votes and making promises of development. One of the major problems of the island of some 25,000 people is sea-water flooding that spoils standing crops seasonally, and the soil permanently. An incomplete embankment project on the Muriganga, crop failure, lack of employment, and dropping fish catch have forced many to migrate.
Will the coming elections change things for the hapless people of Mousuni island ?
Photo : A.Roy Chowdhury

Friday, May 8, 2009

န Thousands of tribals participated in Kolkata rally

Tribals protest in all over Kolkata on "Lalgarh" issue
Kolkata, 24 April : Nearly 1,500 armed tribals brought traffic to a grinding halt in Kolkata for almost two hours on Friday evening. The tribals from Lalgarh and other parts of West Bengal blocked the traffic at Esplanade area in protest when police stopped them breaching the no-entry zone.The police allegedly beat up some protestors and damaged their vehicles following a scuffle after the tribals gathered in Kolkata to express solidarity with the people of Lalgarh, where tribals with the help of Maoists have banned the entry of police. Earlier, security forces conducted flag march in the Maoist-hit areas in West Bengal, including Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.
West Bengal's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debashis Sen said that 27 companies of Central force had already arrived in the state for election duty and many of them had already gone to Maoist-hit and other sensitive areas. Photo : AP