Bengal Panchayat polls: HC asks poll panel to announce fresh schedule

BJP leader Mukul Roy Bengal Ramnavmi BJP Ramnavmi Rally Hindtuva Agenda Trinamool Congress Rahul Sinha

Though the order accepted state government's assertion that it has rights to decide the dates of election as it has to make elaborate arrangements for the same, the Calcutta High Court rejected the state government's claim that it will not be able to hold the election during Ramzan or monsoon.

The decision comes as a major blow to the West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress.

"Singh took this stand despite repeated assurances from the ruling establishment that his position will not be affected even if the Opposition moves court again", said a source, referring to a sudden change in the approach of the poll panel chief.

Justice Subrata Talukdar directed the Commission to issue a fresh deadline extending the day for filing nominations in consultation with the state and other important stakeholders.

Opposition parties such as the BJP and CPM have alleged that their candidates have been obstructed from filing nominations. "It is a moral defeat for the Trinamool Congress and exposed the disability of the SEC, which failed to uphold its credibility by playing in the hands of the state government".

The order came while the court was hearing the petition filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party seeking extension of the nomination dates, alleging arm-twisting methods resorted to by the ruling party elements to prevent the filing of nominations by the Opposition candidates.




Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Friday ordered the West Bengal state election commission to accept nominations from people looking to contest the upcoming panchayat elections for at least one more day, which implies that polling can not be held as scheduled between 1 May and 5 May.

Welcoming Friday's verdict, the BJP's general secretary in West Bengal, Pratap Banerjee, said the party could still move court for deployment of central forces on polling days. However, an unfazed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wlecomed the order and voiced hope that the elections will be held as early as possible.

Polling in Bengal was scheduled to be held in three phases from May 1 to May 5 and the poll results was dated on May 8.

On April 6, former MP and Central Committee member of CPI (M) Dr Ramchandra Dom was also brutally attacked by TMC goons, allegedly. We now want to see what steps the state poll panel will take following the high court's order. Trinamool Congress tried to suppress the voice of democracy.

"I fear the Trinamool will continue with its violence and threats", president Adhir Chowdhury said.

Banerjee, also a TMC Lok Sabha MP, asserted that how elections would be conducted is the prerogative of the SEC and can not be interfered into by the high court.

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