The differences between the Trinamool Congress government and the State Election Commission over the schedule of the upcoming rural polls in the State took a new turn here on Friday with Mukul Roy, all-India general secretary of the Trinamool Congress, accusing the Commission of exceeding its jurisdiction.

The Left Front and the Congress criticised the State Government for being rigid on its stand and not resolving the issue in consultation with the State Election Commission.

“The State Election Commission is exceeding its jurisdiction. It is the right of the State Government to decide the schedule of the panchayat elections in the State as per the law,” Mr Roy told journalists at the State Assembly. If the situation results in a conflict between the State Government and the State Election Commission, the latter will be responsible, he said.

“No need for paramilitary forces”

Since there are no major incidents of law and order violations there is no need for deployment of para-military forces, Mr Roy said.

Despite the State Government being keen to hold the panchayat elections in two phases, the State Election Commission has remained firm on its stand of conducting the polls in three phases.

A letter from the Commission on Thursday said it wants to hold rural polls in three phases with deployment of paramilitary forces.

“Our stand on the issue is very clear. The panchayat elections should be held in at least three phases and with adequate deployment of paramilitary forces,” said Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra.

While the State Government had advanced the laying of the Budget in the State Assembly to announce the schedule of panchayat polls, it is not taking any measures to ensure that its stand-off with the State Election Commission is resolved.

Asked to comment on Mr Roy’s remarks on the State Election Commission, Dr Mishra said that they reflect “arrogance” and such remarks directed at Constitutional bodies should not be made by those in a responsible position. “We would urge the Chief Minister and the State Panchayat Minister not to be rigid and accept the proposal made by the State Election Commission to hold elections in three phases,” said senior Congress MLA Manas Ranajan Bhunia.