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Extended nomination for Panchayat polls tomorrow

Kolkata: The State Election Commission (SEC), after meeting various political parties and representatives of the state government, selected April 23 as the extended day for filing nominations for the upcoming Panchayat polls. However, the SEC did not finalise the dates for elections and will be holding a meeting with officials of the state government on Monday regarding the same. This is perhaps the first time in history when candidates will be filing nominations without knowing the poll dates. The date for scrutiny of nominations filed on Monday is April 25 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature has been fixed on April 28.
The SEC, as per instructions of Calcutta High Court met all the political parties who went to the court and Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of the state Panchayats department Sourav Das on Saturday before announcing the fresh date for nominations. Das told reporters after meeting State Election Commissioner A K Singh that a fresh nomination date has been scheduled for Monday.
"We have not discussed anything regarding the fresh dates for polls. Discussions were held only on the nomination date which will be Monday," he said. The timing of nomination filing will be from 11 am to 3 pm.
The Calcutta High Court on Friday had directed the SEC to prepare the poll schedule afresh with a provision for a new nomination date for the candidates. Justice Subrata Talukdar on Friday had quashed the SEC's April 10 notification which had rescinded its earlier order that extended the last date of filing of nomination for the state Panchayat polls. Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee along with party state president Subrata Bakshi met Singh and urged the latter not to hold elections during the month of Ramzan. "We have informed the SEC that they may hold elections in a single day but not during the Ramzan month. We have appealed for the elections to be held before Ramzan," Chatterjee said. The Ramzan month begins from May 15 and ends on June 14.
Chatterjee also hit out at the BJP without naming the party as it had turned up at the SEC office with six representatives. "The Commission had declared that two representatives each from the political parties will meet the Commissioner. However, six of them came and tried to enter the office. When they were stopped, they went away and threatened to move court. They are indulging in theatrics and are deliberately trying to delay the poll procedure. They are not with the people of Bengal but they are ready to move court at the drop of a hat," Chatterjee added.
A BJP delegation of six persons had gone to the SEC and when they were not allowed as the Commission had directed that only two persons from each party shall be allowed, it lodged a complaint with the registrar of High Court alleging that the Commission had not met them and the police had misbehaved with them when they tried to enter. However, later in the evening on Saturday, a two-member delegation of the BJP held a meeting with Singh.
It is learnt that all the parties that met SEC on Saturday had agreed on Monday being the date for nomination filing.
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