Claiming that their activists were under attack from 'Trinamool Congress-led anti-socials', the Left parties on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to take immediate steps to ensure free and fair polls in West Bengal, including ordering the execution of non-bailable warrants against criminals who were 'terrorising' people ahead of the vote.
The four parties also alleged that a prominent media group, which they said was 'acting as an official mouthpiece' of Mamata Banerjee's party, was given prime land in Kolkata by the TC-led municipal corporation at a low rate that would cause a loss of at least Rs 100 crore to the exchequer.
A delegation of the Communist Party of India - Marxist, Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Part and Forward Bloc raised these issues when they met Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi in New Delhi and sought immediate action to ensure free and fair polls.
Maintaining that none of the 'criminals' against whom 175 non-bailable warrants were issued over a period of time have been arrested in East Midnapore, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said, "Unless these warrants are executed, the confidence of the people will not be restored".
"These criminals are moving about freely, terrorising not only our people, but those who were driven out of their hearths and homes a year ago and have now returned. The TC-backed anti-socials are also attacking EC officials," he said.
He claimed that in one of the constituencies, the son of a prominent Union minister of the Trinamool Congress "physically assaulted the assistant returning officer".
Yechury said the attacker fled from the police station after being arrested. "Now he is an absconder and action should be taken against him," he said.
He said the delegation had also raised the issue of 'open threats' allegedly issued by Gurkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung against top GNLF leaders in Darjeeling.
"Gurung, who is himself out on bail, has made such threats and immediate action should be taken against him," they said
Yechury, who was accompanied at the meeting by CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan, Abani Roy (RSP), Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M) and S P Tiwari (Forward Bloc), said the EC has assured them that it would act on these issues.
Raising the issue of 'paid news', Basu said the Calcutta high court had stayed the transfer of land by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation to a media group.
"As the high court has stayed it, the matter should be construed as financial gratification to the group which runs a newspaper and a TV channel. We have submitted all related documents to the EC for them to take action", he said.
West Bengal will go to polls in six phases from April 18 to May 10.