Congress demands rescheduling of Bengal panchayat polls

Kolkata, March 25 (IANS) Describing the Mamata Banerjee government’s scheduling of the upcoming rural body polls as “politically motivated”, the Congress Monday urged West Bengal’s poll panel to use its constitutional power and reschedule the elections in the interest of “good justice”.

“The panchayat polls schedule announced by the state government is politically motivated. We sincerely hope the (State Election) Commission will redress our grievances and using its constitutional power, reschedule the dates,” said state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya.
A Congress delegation led by Bhattacharya met state chief election commissioner Meera Pandey and apprised her about the “deteriorating law and order” situation in the state which warranted the polls be held in at least three phases under the strict vigil of central security forces.
“Considering the prevailing law and order situation, the conduct of polls in two phases, as announced by the government is illogical. She (Pandey) gave us a patient hearing and assured redressal of our grievances,” said Bhattacharya.
The Congress is also slated to meet Governor M.K. Narayanan Monday evening on the issue.
Defying the panel’s suggestion for a three-stage polls, under the supervision of central security forces, the Bengal government March 22 announced that the two-phase election would be held April 26 and 30 with the state police providing security.
While the government has been maintaining that it had the constitutional right to announce the poll schedule, the poll panel Monday held a meeting regarding its future course of action.
The opposition Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party too has been up in arms against the government’s scheduling of the polls.