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Monday 20 January 2020

Bengal BJP approaches SC for fair and free panchayat election

'How can a police force that cannot maintain peace in a mere two towns (Raniganj and Asansol) manage 49,000 booths?' Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh wonders

Kolkata: The West Bengal unit of the BJP will approach the Supreme Court with a plea to ensure a free and fair panchayat election. The party will file the petition this Tuesday (10 April).

A few days ago, the BJP formed a cell of lawyers to deal with legal issues specific to West Bengal. This is the team that is working out the petition.

Dilip Ghosh, the Bengal president of the BJP, addressed journalists today in the premises of the Vidhan Sabha, saying that his party is moving all quarters to ensure a free and fair panchayat election. He said that delegations of the party have met with the governor as well as the State Election Commission in this regard. Yet, Ghosh said, there was no sign of an end to the TMC’s santras (terror) tactics at the stage of filing of nomination papers by the candidates.

Ghosh said, the BJP had asked for central security forces for the panchayat elections. He said that, while the State Election Commission found some merit in the party’s demand, the TMC government would not permit the entry of paramilitary forces. The commission pleaded helplessness, Ghosh said.

Ghosh questioned the role of the West Bengal Police at the time of the recent riots in Raniganj and Asansol. “How can a police force that cannot maintain peace in a mere two towns manage 49,000 booths?” Ghosh questioned.

The Bengal BJP president further said, “The TMC has deployed goons to affect the nomination process. Once the candidates somehow cross that hurdle, they have to contend with the State police.” The government, the ruling party and the police have become mutually indistinguishable in Bengal, Ghosh said.

Ghosh further alleged that the violence seen at the stage of nominations was pre-meditated. POinting at the fact that the filing of nominations begins on 9 April and ends on the 16th, the TMC is utilising the long time to threaten the opposition so that it has time to withdraw its candidates.

Our readers may recall that when the TMC government in Bengal was a mere two years old, it had questioned the State Election Commission on the latter’s alleged soft corner for the CPI(M) that was still ruling most of the panchayats. The State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey finally asked for central forces to ensure a free and fair polling, but the paramilitary forces were never deployed.

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