"We are confident of improving the strength of CPI(M) and the Left in this election.

"We have only one hurdle which we have to overcome, which is the tactics of TMC in West Bengal which is resorting to anti-democratic methods of rigging elections by taking control of the polling booths, driving away polling agents of the opposition and physically preventing voters from reaching the polling booths. This has happened in the third round of elections in the state on April 30," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told PTI in an interview.

"These efforts of the TMC show that they are not confident of winning the elections. A peaceful and fair poll will lead to the Left Front making big, major gains," he said.

Karat said the EC should "strongly intervene to prevent such things from occurring in the next two rounds."

As many as 23 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal go to polls -- six on May 7 and 17 on May 12.

On the day of the third phase of polls in the state on April 30, CPI(M) had alleged large-scale booth capturing, rigging and violence and demanded repoll in over 1,000 booths in eight of the nine Lok Sabha constituencies where polling was held.

Senior party leader Sitaram Yechury, who had met the CEC along with his Politburo colleague S R Pillai, had then said central forces were available in sufficient numbers but not deployed in most of the places by the state administration.

He had also said that "out of 17,330 polling booths which went to polls, only 324 had video surveillance of some sort" and this was done "with an intent of manipulating the elections."


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