It may write to the Government on the issue

The State Election Commission has taken strong exception to the transfer of 19 Block Development Officers (BDOs) by the State Government ahead of the rural polls in West Bengal.

The Government had ordered the transfer of the officers on Wednesday. The Commission is also in the process of writing to the Government on this issue, it was learnt on Thursday.

The reservations expressed by the Commission are significant in the wake of the ongoing dispute between it and the State Government over the schedule of rural polls.

 The Commission is keen that the panchayat polls be held in three phases but the State Government has remained firm on its stand that they be held in two phases.

 The Government is planning to issue a notification for the polls next week, according to sources in the State Secretariat.

Meanwhile, the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party said during the day that Governor M. K. Narayanan should mediate between the Government and the Commission and settle the differences over the election schedule.

“If the State Government goes on to announce the dates of the polls on its own without holding consultation with the Commission, we will take the matter to court,” said State BJP president Rahul Sinha.

Free and fair panchayat elections cannot be held unless there is deployment of adequate para-military forces but the State Government does not want that, Mr Sinha said, adding that the party has no other option but to approach a court on this matter.