West Bengal polls, the responsibility of TN politicos: EC

Tension in Madurai as election fever grips Midnapore

New Delhi: The Election Commission today made it clear that the responsibility of conducting fair and peaceful polls in West Bengal lay with the politicians of Tamil Nadu.

The EC also warned that if there was any violence in the remaining phases of the polls in West Bengal, it (the EC) would not hesitate to order repolling in the Madurai district of Southern Tamil Nadu.

Addressing a press conference here before leaving for Egypt, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, said that the results to the polls in Tamil Nadu, which were held on 13 April, would be declared on 13 May, pending the elections in West Bengal.

‘In such a scenario, if there are issues in West Bengal elections, we have to come to the logical conclusion that some vested interests are at work to prevent the declaration of results for the polls in Tamil Nadu,’ the CEC explained and asserted: ‘as far as the West Bengal elections are concerned, the moral responsibility firmly lies with the politicos in Tamil Nadu.’

But as the Constitutionally-appointed watchdog of the poll process, the Election Commission seems to have done all that is technically possible to ensure smooth elections in West Bengal, including printing the model code of electoral conduct in Tamil with Bengali fonts. ‘We will ensure that there is no loophole for the Tamil Nadu politicians to make use of in Bengal,’ Quraishi pointed out.

Our mantra is: If it’s election in Midnapore, the buck stops at Madurai, Quraishi explained.

Confirming that every event that has the potential to affect the elections and the electorate in West Bengal was being carefully examined by the Election Commission, Quraishi revealed that the top in their list of scrutiny was obviously the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

‘The result of the match — a last-ball agonising loss for the KKR —- was a major dampener for the entire populace of West Bengal. It’s quite conceivable that the polling percentage was down in West Bengal because of that defeat,’ the Election Commissioner said and added that CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni might be summoned in this regard.

(Sources later said that one of the possible outcomes of the meeting between Quraishi and Dhoni will be an important photograph with the two of them posing together, which the CEC can later use to show-off with his grandchildren).

Asserting that the model of code of electoral conduct covered the IPL matches too, the Chief Election Commissioner also said that they were considering the possibility of holding back the results of the matches that may be detrimental to KKR.

‘We are also mulling the possibility of ordering the Chennai Super Kings to include Sourav Ganguly in its team so that the morale of the Bengal voters is pretty high,’ he said and added ‘if this move fails to yield desired results, then the Chennai franchise team has to up the ante and do the thing that will bring maximum happiness to the Bengalis, which is to remove Sharukh Khan from the helm of KKR and adopt him as the owner of CSK.

The EC, it is learnt, is also looking to demand an apology from actor Kamal Haasan for playing the husband of the doe-eyed Bengali Kamalani Mukherjee in Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu.

‘The film may have released several years back. But the Bongs have not gotten over the mortification of a man old enough to be Kamalini’s chithappa, singing and dancing as her hubby in the film. This is a huge slight on Bengali pride,’ the CEC said. ‘The honourable thing for Kamal is to apologise to the Bongs for his mistake and undo his error by agreeing to watch an arty Bengali movie without yawning even once during its screening,’ he added.

Quraishi said that his visit to Egypt was to apprise the top officials in the country about the electoral system in India and the usage of EVMs, as it prepares itself for democratic process after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak regime. ‘EVMs are a major boon to the election process as they help in computing the poll results in a jiffy. Without the EVMs we will not be able to declare the results on 13 May the result of the polls held on 13 April,’ Quraishi asserted.

Queried whether the poll process in Egypt will have a bearing on Tamil Nadu poll process, the Chief Election Commissioner cryptically answered: Wait and watch.

‘We are constitutionally mandated to run the elections. We have written to the Home Ministry to clarify whether the Constitution in question is that of India’s or Egypt’s. Till the time Home Ministry responds, the results of the Tamil Nadu polls will be kept in abeyance,’ he said.

Asked who will head the caretaker government in Tamil Nadu in the interregnum, Quraishi said: ‘Of course, it will be Hosni Mubarak’.

(Disclaimer: Poll results in TN waiting for WB elections to get over is not spoof)