West Bengal panchayat elections will be held on May 14.(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)
West Bengal panchayat elections will be held on May 14.(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

BJP to move court against single-day polling in Bengal

The Mamata Banerjee administration has also requested five states — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab and Telangana — for armed police for the rural polls.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
UPDATED ON APR 28, 2018 07:58 PM IST

BJP leaders in Bengal have decided to move court against the May 14 single day schedule for panchayat polls announced by State Election Commission (SEC).

CPI(M) and Party for Democratic Socialism have already challenged the polling schedule in Calcutta high court.

“On Monday, we will appeal to the court against the decision of the SEC to hold elections on a single day without adequate security arrangements. The SEC notified a three-phase polling earlier, but suddenly switched to a single day after the state government insisted on it,” alleged BJP national secretary and former president of the Bengal unit, Rahul Sinha.

The case moved by CPI(M) and PDS will be heard by justice Subrata Talukdar, who earlier ordered the SEC to allow filing of nomination for an additional day — on April 23.

Sinha pointed out that if the Supreme Court upheld the decision to hold all five phases during the Ramzan month in 2013, SEC had no reason to avoid polling during the Ramzan month this time.

Incidentally, chief minister Mamata Banerjee insisted that the polling should not be held during the Ramzan month (likely to begin on May 16), the heights of summer and after the onset of rains.

The Mamata Banerjee administration has also requested five states — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab and Telangana — for armed police for the rural polls.

The government has asked for 4–5 companies of forces from each state.

On Friday, DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha had promised adequate security in all polling stations in the state.

“Why does the Mamata Banerjee administration want to avoid the central forces?” asked BJP state president Dilip Ghosh in a public meeting.

On Saturday, election commissioner A K Singh met representatives of 10 political parties to discuss the security aspects during the polls.

“The commissioner has no idea about the deployment of security forces. He was only asking us what we would do,” alleged Pratap Banerjee, general secretary of Bengal unit of BJP after his meeting with poll panel chief A K Singh.

Violence continues in Bengal

Saturday was the last day for withdrawal of nomination. In Raiganj of North DInajpur and Daulatabad of Murshidabad district, ruling party leaders allegedly attacked houses of opposition candidates.

In Bhatar of East Burdwan district, Ramjan Mollah, 56, was killed when a crude bomb was hurled during a clash allegedly between two factions of the ruling party. Mollah was returning from a shop and he was killed.

Amiya Patra, Bankura district secretary of the CPI(M), alleged that a group of 50–60 men came and damaged his house in Taldangra of Bankura district on Friday night.

Trinamool supporters allegedly attacked a BJP leader in Chandrakona Road of West Midnapore district.

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