Bengal panchayat polls: Cong, BJP to move Calcutta HC today

Kolkata, Jun 9 (IANS): The Congress and BJP have decided to move the Calcutta High Court on various issues relating to forthcoming polls in the three-tier panchayat system in West Bengal.

The newly appointed state election commissioner, Rajiva Sinha, on Thursday evening announced July 8 as the date of polls in a single phase.

As Sinha remained vague on the deployment of central armed forces for the polls and instead asked people to have faith in the security arrangements made by the state police, state Congress president and veteran party Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury announced that the party will move to the court to demand the deployment of central forces.

Congress leader and counsel of the Calcutta High Court, Kaustav Bagchi will file a petition at the high court on Friday only. "We have a total of 12 demands for the forthcoming panchayat polls that include central forces deployment, arrangement for online nomination and option for filing nomination at the offices of state election commission and the district magistrates," Bagchi said.

Besides Congress, the state unit of BJP in West Bengal has also decided to move the Calcutta High Court on various grounds. Besides the demand for deployment of central forces, the saffron camp will object to organising the polls in a single phase on July 8. It is learnt that in its petition, the party will also object to the state election commissioner's announcement of the nomination, polling and counting days for the panchayat elections without convening an all- party meeting.

According to the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari said that the single-phase polls was "unthinkable" considering the past record of bloodbath in the rural civic body polls. "If even a single person dies in poll-related violence, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and state election commissioner Rajiva Sinha will be responsible for that," Adhikari said.

However, Trinamool Congress's state spokesman, Kunal Ghosh has rubbished the claims of Adhikari on poll date announcement without convening an all-party meeting.

"There is no binding on the state election commission to convene an all-party meeting. As regards to the central armed forces deployment, all those parties are raising such excuses that do not have any organisation network or public support in West Bengal. The 2021 state Assembly elections were conducted in eight phases with central forces deployed. Everyone knows what the outcome was," Ghosh said.


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Title: Bengal panchayat polls: Cong, BJP to move Calcutta HC today

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