Nothing unconstitutional about early polls: Mamata

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Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee with party candidates for civic polls at a rally in South Kolkata on Friday.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee with party candidates for civic polls at a rally in South Kolkata on Friday.

Raktima Bose

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee claimed here on Friday that had she wanted Article 356 would have been promulgated in West Bengal immediately after the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.

She said there is nothing unconstitutional in initiating the election process for the State Assembly polls six months before they are due in 2011.

Addressing a gathering in the southern part of the city as part of her party's election campaign for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls on May 30, she said: “Article 356 is like a life-saving drug and we did not want to take resort to it. If we had wanted, the article would have been imposed immediately after the Lok Sabha elections only.”

Reacting to the Left Front's criticism of her recent statement over early Assembly elections as unconstitutional, Ms. Banerjee said that the Constitution allows the initiation of election process six months before the due date and asked the Left Front to be “better informed” about the Constitution before criticising others. Underscoring the significance of the coming elections to the 81 municipalities across the State, she called it a “trial election before the final confrontation (Assembly polls)”.

“We want to confirm people's support and trust in our party during the civic elections before the final struggle. It has crucial both historically and politically,” Ms. Banerjee said.

Describing the civic elections as a two-edged fight between the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), she alleged that the role of other political parties was to strengthen the CPI(M)'s chances. Referring to Left Front committee chairman Biman Bose's remark that the civic elections would witness wide-scale violence, Ms. Banerjee said the statement proves that the CPI(M) would deliberately stoke violence and bloodshed during the polls and warned the people against falling victim to any trap.

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