With the West Bengal State Election Commission taking the issue of rural polls security cover to the Supreme Court, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the Opposition had hatched a conspiracy to scuttle the polls. “They [the Opposition] do not want power to go to the people, they do not want tribal women to run panchayats ... They are scared that they will lose if elections are held now,” said Ms. Banerjee, addressing a rally at Jamboni in Paschim Medinipur district in the Jangalmahal area.

Ms. Banerjee said the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party sought to disturb the hard-won peace in the State. “Do not get scared … They will try to do everything to break the peace that we have restored through our joint efforts.”

Amid beefed up security, Ms. Banerjee said although she was warned of attempts on her life if she visited this forested Left Wing Extremism-affected area, she had no fears. “I dare the ultras to touch me I have survived many such attacks … I fear none,” she said.

“I am rallying around the districts in preparation of the panchayat polls but where are they? They are not to be seen around because they do not want the polls,” Ms. Banerjee said. She said the era of the existing panchayats had come to an end and now, district magistrates and subdivisional officers would run panchayats.

Ms. Banerjee said the Opposition and some of their pet channels were trying to malign the government when progress had gained momentum and the inertia from the previous rule been shed. Ms. Banerjee said the new-found peace in the Naxalite-violence-prone region could be maintained only if the Trinamool Congress retained power: “We have built educational institutions, created employment opportunities and are planning to create better facilities.”