In TMC-ruled West Bengal, there was no question of refusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. However, this was the norm until Didi had to deal with feisty State Election Commissioner (SEC) Mira Pande. A retired IAS officer belonging to the 1974 West Bengal cadre, Pande is known for her uprightness and the ability to stand up to her political masters.
And the SEC’s refusal to acquiesce to the state government’s demands on the Panchayat polls has frustrated Mamata to no end.
Last week, the state government accepted the SEC’s proposed poll dates of July 2, 6 and 10, with counting to take place three days later on July 13. However, sources say the SEC is mulling whether to approach the Supreme Court to challenge a Calcutta High Court order regarding the deployment of Central forces for the smooth conduct of the Panchayat polls.
The TMC chief is bitterly opposed to the deployment of the Central forces since it would prove that the law and order in the state had plumbed to new lows.
And the Panchayat polls of 2004 and 2008, which were held without the deployment of the paramilitary forces, have been cited by the state government to bolster its argument.
“We have received a notification from the state government. We are examining it and accordingly we will take a decision,” said SEC secretary Tapas Roy.
The SEC also filed an application before the High Court on Friday, seeking the deletion of the word “consent” from the court’s May 14 order.
The deadlock between Didi and the Pande-headed SEC has been on for sometime now.