Trinamool, Opposition trade charges on deployment of Central forces in Panchayat polls
The deployment of central forces in the upcoming Panchayat elections in West Bengal has once again become a bone of contention between the ruling All India Trinamool Congress and Opposition parties. The elections are scheduled to be held in the first week of May.
Leaders of certain Opposition parties have met State Election Commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh to demand deployment of central forces in the panchayat elections.
Even in the Panchayat elections held in 2013, the Opposition had demanded deployment of central forces but the state government didn't agree. Ultimately the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court's directive, West Bengal was forced to deploy Central forces in the 2013 panchayat elections.
A meeting was convened at the office of the West Bengal Election Commission on Thursday with the state home secretary and chief secretary also present. During the meeting, the West Bengal government urged state the Election Commission to conduct polls in the first week of May, without deployment of Central forces.
The notification for the elections is likely to be issued in the first week of April.
Sources in the state government said that in its letter to the State Election Commission, the West Bengal government said that they did not need any Central forces. It said that around 56,000 state police personnel will be deployed for the Panchayat polls.
After the all party meeting , CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said “The West Bengal government has failed to tackle law and order problems during the Ram Navami processions. How can they conduct an election without deployment of Central forces. We have demanded the deployment of Central forces.”
Sources in the state government said that the Panchayat election will be held in three phases. The West Bengal government wants to finish the election before Ramzam, scheduled in last week of May.
Meanwhile, the BJP has threatened to move court if the State Election Commission finally decides to conduct the election on first week of May.
According to the BJP, as Higher Secondary examinations would be going on, it would be difficult to campaign. They also said that if elections are held in the first week of May, they will get less time for campaigning. Therefore they have urged the state election commission to revise the dates of the elections.
Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president, said “We will move the Court if the State Election Commission decides to conduct the election on the first week of May as we are not getting time for political campaigning. Moreover, we have also demanded the deployment of Central forces as the state government has failed to control the law and order situation of the state.”
It may be mentioned that the 2013 panchayat election was held in the first week of July in West Bengal and it was held in five phases.