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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

West Bengal poll dates: EC has edge over Didi

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, March 24, 2013
First Published: 00:26 IST(24/3/2013) | Last Updated: 07:03 IST(24/3/2013)

A day after the Mamata Banerjee government announced the dates of panchayat polls in West Bengal, triggering a possible confrontation with the State Election Commission (SEC), experts and top bureaucrats in the state said if the matter ended up in court, the SEC could win easily, causing further embarrassment to the state government.

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“The SEC cannot be seen to be a party to a decision that appears to be politically motivated,” said a senior bureaucrat, explaining why it may be a problem for the SEC to accept the dates announced by the government on Friday.

The state wants to hold the polls in two phases – April 26 and April 30. While three districts (North Dinajpur, Malda and Murshidabad) — where the Congress is strong — would go to the polls on April 30, elections in all other districts would be held on April 26. Political parties and bureaucrats interpret the choice of dates as largely politically motivated to make the odds heavy against the Congress in its traditional home turf, where the Trinamool would then be able to concentrate all its attention and resources.


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