Price of poll contest: no water, no ration
May 9: A young woman who filed her nomination as a CPM candidate for the June 3 elections to the Durgapur Municipal Corporation has been ostracised along with her elderly mother, allegedly at the behest of Trinamul Congress leaders, and denied access to water and ration.
Lakshmimoni Hansda, 28, who lives with her widowed mother Rashmoni at Palashdiha in Durgapur town, said that since she filed her nomination on May 5, shopkeepers were refusing to sell her grocery and other provisions.
"On May 6, local Trinamul leaders called me to their party office but I did not go. From that evening, my elderly mother and I were ostracised. Nobody has been speaking to us. Shopkeepers are denying us provisions. I have to go to the market at City Centre (half a kilometre away) to buy provisions," Lakshmimoni said.
"When my mother and I went to fetch water from the corporation tap in the neighbourhood, the residents stopped us from doing so. They told us that Trinamul workers had instructed them not to allow us to take water from the tap," Lakshmimoni said, adding: "The Trinamul workers have threatened to drive us out of the area if I don't withdraw my nomination."
Rashmoni, who works at the Durgapur Steel Plant, alleged that a group of Trinamul supporters came to her house around 7.30 this morning and threatened to kidnap her daughter.
Lakshmimoni today lodged a complaint with the sub-divisional officer, who is also the returning officer for the civic polls, and sent copies of it to the police commissioner of the Asansol-Durgapur commissionerate and governor M.K. Narayanan. SDO Ayesha Rani A. said she would look into the complaint.
"Since I filed the nomination, local Trinamul workers have been creating a ruckus outside my house every night. They are drunk most of the time and hurl abuses at me and my mother. We are feeling insecure and scared," Lakshmimoni said.
She said the family had always supported the CPM. "My father was a Citu member," she said.
Burdwan CPM secretary Amal Haldar alleged that Trinamul was not allowing the Opposition to campaign in Durgapur.
"Chief minister Mamata Banerjee talks about democracy but her party workers are throttling democracy in Durgapur. Trinamul workers are preventing us from campaigning in Durgapur. We have complained to the governor," he said.
Left leaders in East Midnapore brought similar charges of strong-arm tactics against Trinamul. They lodged complaints with the district magistrate and the police superintendent accusing Trinamul of unleashing a "reign of terror" in Haldia and Panskura, where too civic polls will be held on June 3.
East Midnapore CPM secretary Kanu Sahu said: "Many of our candidates in Haldia and Panskura are being forced to go into hiding as Trinamul workers are threatening them with dire consequences if they do not withdraw their nominations. Goons hired by Trinamul are threatening our candidates."
In Panskura, CPM councillor and candidate Ashish Bhowmik has gone underground, his wife said. "Last evening, Trinamul workers came to our house looking for my husband. They said I would become a widow if he contested the polls," Jyotsna said.
The CPM zonal committee secretary in Haldia, Sudarshan Manna, said: "In most wards, Trinamul workers are threatening to kill Left candidates if they don't withdraw from the fray."
Trinamul denied the charges. "The CPM is scared. That is why the party is making false allegations against us," local Trinamul MLA Apurba Mukherjee said.
Additional district magistrate (general) Moloy Haldar said: "We have alerted the police. They have been asked to take prompt action in case of specific complaints."