Bengal BJP releases poll manifesto, promises pro-people panchayat

Congress Demands President's Rule in West Bengal After Panchayat Polls Violence

Congress Demands President's Rule in West Bengal After Panchayat Polls Violence

Kolkata: In a surprising turn of events, the West Bengal State Election Commission on Thursday said the upcoming panchayat polls will be held in a single phase as opposed to three announced earlier, prompting opposition fears the elections could be rigged in the absence of inadequate security arrangements.

"The panchayat election will be held in one phase on May 14".

Union minister Babul Supriyo and other party leaders from the state, including Mukul Roy, Rupa Ganguly and Rahul Sinha, hit out at the Mamata Banerjee government. The decision came after a recommendation from the state government that the polls be held on May 14.

After this, MP Banerjee, also TMC's counsel, stood up and asked the court to take cognizance of what BJP Bengal president Ghosh had said recently.

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday disposed of petitions filed by the Opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party seeking an extension of dates for filing nominations for the Panchayat elections, The Indian Express reported.

Angry over the SEC announcement, the opposition parties said the state lacked adequate number of police personnel to provide fool-proof security and alleged the poll panel never discussed the matter with them, despite a direction from the high court. The court has directed the SEC to submit a report by April 30.

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The commission decided on a single-phase polling in view of approaching monsoons and the start of the holy month of Ramzan on 15 May, according to Shandilya.

He appealed to the CPI-M workers to put the party on a strong footing in every polling booth and constituency.

Bengal BJP on Tuesday released its panchayat poll manifesto promising to make the panchayat truly pro-people and remove corruption in several Centre-assisted schemes like "Prime Minister Sadak Yojna" and "Swachh Bharat".

The BJP subsequently moved the high court challenging the rollback of extended deadline, and Justice Subrata Talukdar stayed the election process on April 12. There has been continuous attacks on the opposition parties. "Lives, democratic rights, democratic space, Constitutional machinery and freedom are not safe anymore in the state", the memorandum read.

As per the latest SEC notification, last date of filing was 23 April and 28 April for withdrawal. Mamata was the designated Home Minister.

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