Kolkata panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee launched fresh attacks at the State Election Commission, stating that the government had bowed low enough. The reaction came after the commission rejected the fresh dates for panchayat polls that the state government proposed while the matter was being heard at Calcutta High Court.
“How much more can we bow down? There is a limit to our flexibility. We wanted the panchayat polls to be held during the winter. They said no; we accepted. Then, after consultation, we declared the dates. They went to court. Even then we accepted it and forwarded fresh dates. Still they say no,” Mukherjee told reporters in the city. “They are fighting the court case using our money. We even agreed to bring forces from outside. What more could we have done? Enough is enough. Now, we will fight it out at the court,” the panchayat minister said.
After the SEC went to court, the state government proposed May 5 and 8 for panchayat polls, revising the dates from April 26 and 30, as had been proposed before. Justice Biswanath Somadder urged the counsels of both the SEC and the state government, to hold talks among themselves and try and resolve the issue out of court. However, even after talks SEC opposed the new dates and the impasse continued.
Earlier, the Trinamool Congress led state government, targeted the commission and its chief Meera Pandey, alleging that she was hand-in-gloves with the CPI(M) and wants to delay the polls. The state government cited the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003, which allows it to announce the dates ‘in consultation’ with the SEC. It also ruled out deployment of central forces, arguing that the law and order situation in the sate was good, and that it was unnecessary to spend nearly Rs. 400 crore on getting central forces.