Even as the West Bengal Election Commission welcomed the decision of the State Government to revise the phase-wise list of districts for the rural polls, it remained firm on its suggestion to deploy Central paramilitary forces for the panchayat elections.
“We have received a letter (from the State government) and will take a decision on the matter on Thursday after considering all aspects”, an official of the Commission told journalists.
Officials of the Commission said its demand to deploy paramilitary forces was to ensure that the election process is smooth. The deployment of forces is a key issue over which the State government and the Commission differ.
Officials said about 800 companies of paramilitary forces would be required for the elections.
Meanwhile, State Election Commissioner Mira Pande met Governor M. K. Narayanan at Raj Bhavan earlier in the day and apprised him of the views of the Commission on the rural polls.
Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee ruled out Governor’s intervention on the matter and said Ms. Pande can approach the Governor and even the President as it is within her right to do so.
Criticising the letter from the Commission seeking clarifications on the unilateral announcements of the polls, Mr Mukherjee said that decision was taken “to create sensation in the media” and “there were other interests involved as well”.
In another significant development, Chief Secretary Sanjoy Mitra met the Governor later in the evening.