West Bengal Election Commissioner Mira Pande said here on Tuesday that conducting rural polls was a complicated and difficult task, but was not forthcoming when asked about the cooperation extended to the poll panel by the State government. “Yes we have received cooperation from the State government to some extent,” she said.
On being questioned repeatedly by journalists on the matter, Ms. Pande said that being a constitutional body the Commission had to follow certain rules and regulations and so could not make “irresponsible” statements.
Asked why the SEC failed to take action against the Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal, who incited party supporters to attack Independent candidates and the police, she said the panel issued directions for filing a complaint and now it was for the district authorities to pursue the matter.
Ms. Pande said the SEC’s main responsibility was to conduct the rural polls, which “it tried to do it in the best possible way.”
On the Opposition alleging that the Commission failed to ensure proper deployment of security forces, which could have prevented alleged malpractices that occurred during the polls, Ms. Pande said that political parties had a misconception that Central forces were to be deployed in every booth.
“If Central forces were to be deployed in each booth then their quantum required would be far more than what was allowed by the Supreme Court.”
Reflecting on the complexities of the rural polls, Ms. Pande said:“Candidates fight the polls on local issues, so the volatility at the local level is higher when compared to Assembly or general elections. Moreover, the fact that a voter has cast three times and the sheer number of constituencies makes it a time consuming affair, thus increasing the complexities.”