Commission wants central paramilitary forces posted

The standoff between the West Bengal government and State Election Commission (SEC) over the deployment of Central paramilitary forces for the upcoming rural polls continued here on Thursday with both the government and Commission sticking to their stand.

Following a meeting between State Election Commissioner Mira Pande and Governor M.K. Narayanan, the Commission wrote another letter to the State government highlighting the need for deployment of Central paramilitary forces for the panchayat elections.

Uncertainty

It raised fresh questions on whether or not the polls can be held as per the schedule announced unilaterally by the State government last week.

 The holding of the first phase of the polls on April 26 seems uncertain as the SEC is yet to issue its notification for the elections.

 A minimum of 28 days — seven for filing of nominations and 21 days between the filing of the papers and the poll date — is mandatory after the SEC issues its notification.

  While the Commission did not issue a notification during the day, its officials said that it “is not the practice” to issue notifications on holidays.

The next working day is April 1.

No climb down: SEC

Officials of the Commission said that there “is no question of a climb down” from its stand over the deployment of Central paramilitary forces.

In the letters sent by the Commission to the State government in the recent past, it was suggested that 800 companies of such forces were necessary for free and fair elections.

Meanwhile, the State’s Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee told journalists that he would meet the Governor on Friday.

 “He [the Governor] has expressed his desire to speak to me. I will go,” Mr. Mukherjee said, hours after reiterating that “there is no need” for deployment of Central paramilitary forces.

 “We are in favour of holding the elections with the resources [State Armed Police] we have in the State and it is quite possible to do so,” he said and added that the State government had received three to four letters demanding the deployment of Central paramilitary forces.


  • Development raises questions whether the polls will be held

  • First phase of elections on April 26 looks uncertain