The Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
Subject: Decision to declare Agiaon and Tarari assembly segments of Ara LS ‘extremist-affected’ has no basis, and will discriminate against voting rights of the poor
We are surprised at the decision of the Election Commission to declare Agiaon and Tarari Assembly segments of the Ara Lok Sabha constituency (Bihar) as extremist-affected, thereby reducing the voting hours till 4 pm instead of 6 pm.
We would also like to point out that Agiaon and Tarari have no history of being ‘extremist-affected.’ The MLAs from Agiaon and Tarari are Shivesh Kumar from the BJP and Sunil Pandey from the JD(U) respectively. The BJP was till recently in power in Bihar and the JDU is still in Government. How come Assembly segments ruled by representatives of these two ruling parties became extremist affected?
We would also like to point out that the only incidents of pre-poll violence in these areas have been the murder of CPI(ML)’s Charpokhri block secretary Budhram Paswan, and popular young teacher Akbar Khan. Feudal-communal criminals are implicated in both these murders. Moreover, the recent acquittals of all the convicts in the Bathani Tola and Laxmanpur Bathe massacres committed by the Ranveer Sena, and the resulting release of these convicts, has created fear and terror among the poor from the oppressed castes in these Assembly segments. In these circumstances, why are these Assembly segments being declared ‘extremist affected’?
This is the harvest season – a time when poor agricultural labourers tend to be busy the whole day from early morning onwards. In addition they face intimidation from the feudal-criminal forces. This decision to restrict voting hours would only make it more difficult for them to cast their vote.
We appeal to you to withdraw the decision to declare Agiaon and Tarari extremist-affected; a decision that in effect would be deeply unfair and discriminatory to the poor voters in these Assembly segments.
General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation