Adequate security forces is needed to prevent violence during the rural polls, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan said here on Thursday while supporting the State Election Commission’s decision to move the Supreme Court on the issue of availability of security forces for the upcoming panchayat elections.

Legal stand-off

The election panel and West Bengal are locked in a legal stand-off on the matter and the tussle has shifted to the Supreme Court that is expected to be hearing on Friday the submissions of both the Centre and the State on how they would meet the security requirements for the polls.

Asked by journalists for his comments on the Commission’s decision to move the apex court, Mr. Narayanan said he thought it to be “a step in the right direction.”

“I think the need now is to find some way to hold the elections; going to the Supreme Court is one means,” he pointed out.

His remarks are being considered particularly significant in view of his frequent observations in the past that the law and order situation in the State has improved since the Trinanool Congress government assumed power more than two years ago.

Though the Trinamool has been underplaying the spurt of violence that is raging ahead of the rural polls, the Opposition has been, over the past weeks, seeking the Governor’s intervention to ensure that necessary steps are taken to stop the attacks on its workers and leaders by activists of the ruling party.

“Logical” thing

Commenting on the developments, Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee member Mohd. Salim said the State Election Commission has been bringing to Mr. Narayanan’s notice the need for adequate security forces.

Moving the apex Court was the only “logical” thing to do for a body that has the constitutional responsibility of holding the elections.

The State Congress leadership welcomed the Governor’s remarks on the election panel’s move.

“He has rightly spoken of the need for adequate security if the polls are to be free and fair,” said West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradip Bhattacharya.