Millennium Post

Panchayat election: SEC directs DMs to ensure proper security

Kolkata: The state Election Commission (SEC) has directed District Magistrates and District Panchayat Election Officers, to have proper security arrangement in place at the nomination venues across the state, to ensure peaceful filing of nominations on Monday. The timing of nomination filing will be from 11 am to 3 pm.
State Election Commissioner A K Singh's letter reads: "I am to request you to make necessary arrangement for receiving of nominations, scrutiny, withdrawal of candidature, allotment of symbols and publication of lists of contesting candidates."
The date for scrutiny of nominations filed on Monday has been fixed on April 25, while the last dates for withdrawal of candidature has been fixed on April 28.
The SEC is yet to finalise the poll dates and is likely to announce the same on Monday, after holding a meeting with concerned officers of the state government. The fixing of election dates will not be an easy task, as the SEC will have to find a middle path between contending political parties, the fasting month of Ramzan, the vagaries of the monsoon and the rules stipulating how to conduct Bengal's rural polls.
The Trinamool Congress had urged the SEC that they may hold elections in a single day but not during the Ramzan month. Ramzan starts on May 15 and ends in the middle of June and the TMC does not want the election process to be held during this month of fasting. But by the time Ramzan ends in the middle of June, the monsoon would be in Bengal with its full force.
"We don't want to put people in trouble. We don't want votes either in scorching heat or during monsoon. We also want the election process to be over before Ramzan begins. We are ready to have a one-day poll," TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee had said, after meeting the State Election Commissioner on Saturday.
BJP leaders had informed SEC that they want a two-day poll process, as it feels the SEC does not have a police force large enough to secure all 58,000 of Bengal's polling booths on a single day.
The SEC, as per instructions of Calcutta High Court, had met all political parties and Officer on Special Duty of the state Panchyat department Sourav Das on Saturday, before announcing the fresh date for nominations.
It may be mentioned that the Calcutta High Court on Friday had directed the SEC to prepare the poll schedule afresh, with provision for a new nomination date for 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.
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