On a day when Election Commission announced multi-phase Assembly polls in West Bengal, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that law and order situation in the poll-bound State was "unsatisfactory."

Replying to questions by journalists during his monthly stock taking press conference, Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre had made available 100 companies of para-military forces to West Bengal for deployment during Assembly elections.

"There are inter-party clashes being reported from West Bengal. I don’t know who the aggressor is and who the victim is. But it is the State government’s duty to maintain law and order in the State," Mr. Chidambaram said without naming any political party.

To a query on Orissa government’s deal with Maoists in getting the abducted Malkangiri district collector freed, the Home Minister said that he respected the State government’s "judgement" in handling the hostage crisis. He also brushed aside reports of his disagreement with the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"It's not important whether we agree or disagree. The matter was handled by the State government and it was a difficult and sensitive matter. They have handled it to the best of their ability," he said.