SC notice to Centre, West Bengal on panchayat polls

The state Election Commission had filed a petition for a direction to the government to provide adequate security personnel for the conduct of the polls scheduled for July 2

Published: 27th June 2013 09:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th June 2013 09:03 AM   |  A+A-

Election

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to both the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal Government on the issue of security deployment for the forthcoming panchayat polls in the state.

The notices were issued after the State Election Commissioner (SEC) filed a petition in this regard.

The ongoing impasse between the state government and the SEC has seen no signs of resolution even as the panchayat polls is round the corner. “We will ensure smooth election,” the Supreme Court said.

The apex court will take up the issue on June 28.

The SEC told the SC that the TMC-led Government was dithering on providing adequate security for the grassroots poll in spite of the May 14 order passed by the Calcutta High Court.

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik directed the Centre and the state government to appraise it on how they plan to meet the security deployment as mentioned by the High Court.

The panchayat polls are scheduled to take place on July 2, 6 and 9 and counting is slated for July 13.

The SEC is demanding about 1.49 lakh troops, while the state government  hardly have 50,000 security personnel.

The Supreme Court notice was also issued to state Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra as well as state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee.

Subrata slammed the SEC for approaching the Supreme Court and said, “It is totally unethical on the part of the commission to move the Supreme Court during the ongoing panchayat poll process.”

Meanwhile, Mamata alleged that the ongoing imbroglio was a conspiracy hatched by the Opposition to delay the panchayat polls. “These parties are afraid of defeat in the panchayat elections and do not want it to be held. The CPM, Congress and BJP have joined hands to stall the polls, the process of which has already started,” she said at her first campaign rally in Jangalmahal on Wednesday.

The CPM retaliated and put the responsibility squarely on the TMC if the rural body elections were not held on time.

“The state government from the very beginning is not serious about holding the polls. It does not want to give power to the people of rural Bengal. It had earlier wanted the polls to be held in December, 2011, so that they could ride on the pro-TMC wave,” said Surjya Kanta Mishra, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

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