The State Election Commission has sought a revision in the schedule of rural polls and district-wise grouping for each phase and has written a letter to this effect to the West Bengal government on Saturday.
The government, in a notification on Friday, had announced that the panchayat elections in 17 districts would be held in three phases — on July 2 , 6 and 10.
According to the proposal, nine districts will go to polls in the first phase and four each in the second and third phases.
As per the letter sent by the SEC, six districts rpoi[pshould go for polling in the first phase, five in the second and the remaining six in the third phase.
The SEC has also sought the revision of the last date of polling as the ‘Ratha Yatra’ (Chariot festival) falls on that day.
“We will raise the issue with the Chief Minister [Mamata Banerjee] and inform our decision by tomorrow,” Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said.
He said the last day of polls might be advanced and the elections for the final phase could be rescheduled to July 9.
Divergernce over grouping of districts
Though there seemed to be a consensus on the revision of poll dates is concerned, the issue of district-wise grouping in each phase needs to be sorted out between the election panel and the State government.
A recent ruling of a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court mandates that the panchayat elections should be held by July 15.
Meanwhile, Governor M.K. Narayanan expressed the hope that the impasse would end soon.
“The matter is now between the government and the State Election Commission. I think it will be sorted out,” he said.
In a related development, the election panel held a meeting of the district magistrates and Superintendents of Police of nine districts, which, according to the notification issued by the State government, will go for polling in the first phase. Sources in the Commission said officials were asked to tighten security in the wake of rural polls.