West Bengal Panchayat Elections: What Calcutta High Court directed State Election Commission

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New Delhi | Updated: April 24, 2018 7:00:55 PM

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission to have a discussion with all the parties and others concerned for the smooth conduct of the upcoming Panchayat elections.

Calcutta High Court directed State Election Commission to hold dialogue with all parties concerned for smooth conduct of polls. (Image: PTI)

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission to have a discussion with all the parties and others concerned for the smooth conduct of the upcoming Panchayat elections. The High court also said that the State Election Commission (SEC) is the final body to decide on the safety and security arrangements for the local body polls.

A single judge bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar also asked the state poll body to inform a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya on the security arrangements. The court was hearing a petition filed by the opposition parties which sought proper deployment of security personnel for security arrangement in the forthcoming polls. Justice Talukdar also directed the opposition parties to approach the division bench over the same.

In their petition, the opposition parties (the BJP, the Congress and the Left parties) have alleged violence by ruling Trinamool Congress during the filing of nominations on Monday. Rejecting the opposition’s allegations, the TMC blamed the oppositions for destroying peace.

The High court also dismissed a petition filed by the BJP and the Congress which sought court monitoring of the entire poll process.

Earlier in the day, the Congress party has demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state. The move comes following the conflicts between the ruling and the opposition parties during the process of filing nominations for the upcoming elections.

Speaking to news agency ANI over violence in the state, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury today said that the imposition of Article 356 is need of the hour. “I demand President’s Rule in West Bengal. Without imposing President’s rule, no one will be able to exercise their democratic right. This is the need of the hour,” Chowdhury told ANI.

Chowdhury also claimed that he has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the imposition of Article 356 as there is no democracy in the state. Speaking to DNA, Chowdhury said, “I have written to Rajnath Singh about it (about President’s rule) without which there can be no democracy in Bengal.”

On Monday, a fresh spate of violence was reported from Birbhum and Asansol after an independent candidate was allegedly attacked in front of the BDO office while he was filing nomination. The ruling Trinamool Congress has denied any involvement in the attack. As per the news agency ANI, one person was reported to have died in a clash between TMC and BJP supporters in Siuri’s Block No. 1 in Birbhum.

According to ANI, the BJP has claimed that several of its workers were injured in the clash on Monday. Later, the party also filed a complaint in this regard. Incidents of poll-related violence were also reported from Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas districts. Around six policemen were injured when the BJP and TMC workers engaged in a conflict that broke out at South 24 Parganas’s Usti area over the filing of nominations on April 9.

Last week, the Calcutta High Court had asked the State Election commission to extend the date of filing nominations for the Panchayat polls. On Saturday, the state poll body issued a notification stating April 23 (Monday) as the new date for submitting nominations to the three-tier panchayat elections.

The new dates for the election are yet to be announced by the State Election Commission. Earlier, the panchayat polls in the state were scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5 while the counting of votes was to be held on May 8.

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