Mamata government wants the elections to be held in two phases

The West Bengal Government and the State Election Commission are at loggerheads over the dates for the upcoming rural polls in the State and deployment of para-military forces.

According to senior officials of the Panchayat Department, a letter was sent to the Commission earlier this week stating that the rural polls be held in two phases and, if required, additional forces be mobilised for conducting the polls.

 The Commission has also been told about the State government wanting to hold the elections on April 24 and April 27 after it had initially expressed its keenness to have the polls on a single day, officials said.

 In contrast, the Commission wants the polls to be held in three phases.

The letter is being seen as a climbdown by the State Government from its earlier stand on the poll schedule.

The Commission in consultation with the State Government issues the notification for the panchayat elections. Whether or not it is amenable to the latter’s suggestion is now the question.

The Government has also advanced the date for the Budget presentation in the State Assembly so that notification for the polls can be issued after March 15.

The Budget will be tabled on March 11 and all the necessary clearance regarding it will be obtained from the State Assembly by March 15 to ensure that the budgetary proposals do not violate the model code of conduct that will come into force once the notification is issued.