The vexed issue of West Bengal panchayat polls has finally had an “amicable settlement” — which gives more time to the Mamata Banerjee government to prepare for the polls and upholds her demand for the use of state police for security.
Instead of June, the state gets time till July 15 and the three-phase poll will be held with the help of the state armed police, said a division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which was hearing an appeal by the state government.
The court directed that the poll dates and districts be notified within three days by the state in consultation with the state election commission (SEC).
Tuesday’s ruling by Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi brought an end to the month-long tussle between the state and the SEC. “Happily, the dispute... has been amicably settled and is being decided by consent,” the court said. Both parties have decided not to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
The ruling, however, goes against the May 10 order of a single judge, who had ruled in favour of SEC regarding the use of central forces.
SEC counsel Samaraditya Pal was far from pleased. “How can this be an amicable settlement? My consent was never asked for and I never gave consent. Above all, this is not a judgment. This is a mere direction without any reason,” he said.
“We welcome the verdict. We always wanted to hold the elections on time, but some forces tried to delay the process,” said a visibly relieved chief minister Mamata Banerjee.y.
BJP withdraws its nominee for LS bypoll; move will help TMC
In another olive branch to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls, the BJP withdrew its candidate for the Howrah Lok Sabha by-poll on Tuesday.
With Asim Ghosh out, Trinamool Congress is expected to retain the seat in the June 2 by-poll. “The growing proximity of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP, which was in the realm of speculation, has become a reality. From tomorrow, we would campaign to focus on this,” said Qazi Abdur Razzak, district president of Congress, Howrah.