Kolkata: BJP’s man in charge for the panchayat elections in West Bengal, Mukul Roy, has sent a letter addressed to the chief secretary of the State complaining that these elections have been announced in violation of a ruling by the Calcutta High Court. The letter was supposed to be addressed to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State Election Commission. The goof-up has left the saffron camp red-faced.
The letter is addressed to Malay Kumar De, the Chief Secretary of West Bengal. Not only that, it was mailed to Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s office. No sooner did the mail reach Nabanna, the news of the mistake was passed on to the media.
The HC ruling that Roy has alluded to in the letter pertains to a case filed in 1999. The court had observed then that it was inadvisable to conduct elections during the time school and university students appear for their respective examinations.
Roy says that the State Election Commission’s announcement of the panchayat elections at a time when the secondary, higher secondary and competitive examinations are going is a violation of the will of the High Court.
The panchayat elections of this year in 20 districts of West Bengal is scheduled to take place in three phases in May. The elections in 20 districts across the state will be held on 1, 3 and 5 May. It must be noted that the counting of votes of all the 20 districts will take place on 8 May.
In West Bengal, there are 3,358 village panchayats with 48,751 seats, 341 panchayat samitis with 9,240 seats and 20 zila parishads with 825 seats. There are around 58,000 booths across the State. In February, the commission had sought 425 senior IAS and West Bengal Civil Services officers to be deployed as observers for “free and fair” panchayat polls, a demand that had led to face-off with the government in 2013.