Wednesday, March 27, 2013


                Kolkata, Mar 25 : The stand-off between the West Bengal government and the State Election Commission persisted today with the poll panel shooting off an 11-page letter to the government hoping it would take steps accordingly.

                "SEC has referred an eleven-page latter to the state government under section 43/2 of the Panchayat Election Act, 2003. We hope the state government will take steps according to the section 43/2," SEC secretary Tapas Roy told a press conference here.

                He, however, refused to divulge the contents of the letter.

                Roy also declined to make any comment on the way polls in various districts have been scheduled in the notification issued by the state government.

                The Trinamool Congress government on Friday had unilaterally announced dates for panchayat polls  in two phases - on April 26 and April 30.

                The SEC had earlier proposed to hold the panchayat polls in three phases under the supervision of central forces.

                Asked whether the model code of conduct has already kicked in after the state government issued the notification last Friday, Roy said, "There is a grey matter regarding it. I will prefer not to comment on this matter as of now."

                As per the state government notification, Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur, the three Congress strongholds were scheduled to go to polls on April 30 while election in the remaining 14 districts were scheduled on April 26.

                Defending the announcement of panchayat poll dates, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee had stated yesterday, "We are much more serious than anybody else in holding panchayat Polls. We have completely followed the law and the steps have been taken in accordance with the law."

                He observed that a state government can never function pursuing narrow political interests.State BJP president Rahul Sinha today met Governor M K Narayanan and demanded an all-party meeting to find a solution to the stalemate.

                "We have requested the Governor to call an all-party meeting which should also include the State Election Commission so that the problem can be solved through discussion," Sinha told reporters.

                State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya reiterated his demand for a three-phase election under the supervision of central forces.

                "We want that the SEC should not bow down to the pressure of state government," he said.

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