Poll panel in Kolkata on March 14
The full Bench of the Election Commission (EC) will arrive in the city on March 14 to assess the poll preparation in the state.
The full Bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner will convene a number of meetings with the election officials, senior police officers and also with the different political parties.
Meanwhile, the EC will issue notification on March 11 for holding the polls on the first day of Phase-I scheduled to take place on April 4 at 18 Assembly Constituencies in the districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. The candidates contesting from these assembly constituencies may file their nominations from Friday. The last date of filing nominations for these candidates is March 18 while scrutiny will be done within March 19 and the last date of withdrawal of nominations has been fixed on March 21.
A senior election official in the state said that the Commission has been taking all possible steps to ensure free and fair elections and to prevent a single untoward incident during the 6 phases of polls in the state. It was learnt that the Commission’s full Bench will hold meetings with different political parties on March 14. On the next day it will hold meeting with the senior election officials in the state, all the District Election Officers (DEO), Commissioners and Superintendents of police.
To ensure that maximum number of voters exercise their franchise on polling days, the Election Commission is focusing on a big way to increase voter turnout.
"West Bengal has one of the highest voter turnouts in India. In both the last 2011 Assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha polls the turnout was over 80 per cent. Women came to vote more than men in 2011 and this time we want to carry forward the tradition," Deputy CEO Amitjyoti Bhattacharya said.
He said they were using folk artistes in the districts to increase awareness among voters. "We want to ensure participation of maximum number of voters. Sky is the limit," he added. Commission’s full Bench will look into the overall poll preparations that had been taken by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in the state. It will also review about the security arrangements at the various sensitive pockets and also in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) divisions of West Bengal.