Dr. Nirmal Maji, a sitting MLA of the ruling TMC party and a close confidant of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was selected by the TMC party to run again in the 2021 assembly election from the Uluberia (Uttar) constituency in West Bengal, despite two pending criminal cases against Dr. Maji. Both criminal cases against Dr. Maji were moved in 2018 by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, containing serious charges like alleged money laundering by a public servant (under IPC Section 409) and fraud (under IPC Section 464). These criminal cases are still pending before a criminal Special Court from MLAs/MPs at Bidhannagar, Kolkata with next hearing date fixed on April 17, 2021.
Although it is unbelievable but true that there is no specific bar for convicted/indicted criminals to run in elections in India, Supreme Court recently directed specific stipulations for criminally convicted/indicted candidates to contest in elections and based on the Apex Court’s rulings, Election Commission of India (ECI) transmitted a letter/notification dated 16th September, 2020 to all chief election commissioners (CEOs) across India with specific directions that any political party selects a candidate who was previously convicted for any criminal offense or who is with a pending criminal case, the party must widely and publicly declare the candidate’s criminal background through the print/electronic/social media. The ECI notification further stipulated that the political party with criminally convicted/indicted candidate must make this public declaration “within 48 hours” after the candidate is officially selected and the political party must also put this information on their own website. Further, ECI notification has also stipulated that the political party selecting a candidate with criminal antecedents must also explain why other individuals with no criminal background were not chosen as a candidate. PBT has never affiliated with any political party and it is also a common knowledge that convicted/indicted criminals from all major political parties routinely run in elections and sometime even win these elections – shame should go not only to these immoral political parties but also to those voters who cast their votes for convicted or indicted criminals.
Election of the Uluberia (Uttar) constituency is scheduled to be held on April 6, 2021 and the last date for withdrawal of a candidate has already passed, TMC has remained dead silent without any publication or advertisement about the pending criminal cases against Dr. Maji in order to keep the voters in complete darkness about the criminal background of their candidate in brazen violation of the ECI’s specific directions. PBT president lodged a formal complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner bringing this sheer atrocity and candid transgression of the election laws/rules by the TMC and their MLA candidate, Dr. Nirmal Maji. In the complaint, PBT has asked that the EC must compel TMC to comply with the ECI letter/notification and punish TMC for willful violation of the election laws/rules or they must replace Dr. Maji as a candidate from the Uluberia (Uttar) constituency (see PBT president’s complaint to the ECI below).