West Bengal panchayat elections: EC told to accept nominations

BJP leader Mukul Roy at a demonstration to protest against the violence during panchayat poll nomination filing in Kolkata

BJP leader Mukul Roy at a demonstration to protest against the violence during panchayat poll nomination filing in Kolkata

Justice Talukdar said he was hearing the matter at the instruction of the Supreme Court and that the state election commission was answerable to the apex court on what steps had been taken to "allay concerns" of opposition parties. "We do not want vote in Ramzan month also". A couple of days ago, she pointed out, 18 people were killed.

The 35-page order directed the commission to reschedule the dates for the election process and conduct the polls accordingly. "The wave of development ushered in by (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee is so huge that nothing would stand in its way", he said. The commission has rejected the opposition parties' demand for central forces.

The SEC had said it withdrew the April 9 notification following a letter of legal advice by Additional Chief Secretary of the West Bengal government Saurabh Kumar Das and Trinamool Congress vice president Kalyan Banerjee that the notification for extension was a violation of the Panchayat Act 46 (2).

The commission and the ruling Trinamool Congress opposed the petitions claiming that these were not maintainable since the election process had started.

Panchayat poll in the state is significant as it is considered to be crucial for the General Elections, which will be held next in 2019.

According to legal experts, the court did not specify a one-day extension of nomination deadline. The State poll panel is one of the constitutional bodies.

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However, the Trinamool refused to accept that the verdict had gone entirely against them.

Justice Subrata Talukdar commenced the order by quoting Winston Churchill: "At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper, no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point - House of Commons, 31 October 1944".

But the opposition is jubilant. It has played a courageous role in saving the democracy in West Bengal. But the verdict does not mean that everything about the election would be held in a peaceful manner from now on. Congress member of Parliament (MP) Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged the commission was acting at the behest of the Trinamool Congress, the ruling party.

"I urge Mamata Banerjee not to take everyone for a ride", he said". CPM leader Rabin Deb too welcomed the verdict.

"The election will decide who has worked for the people so far and who will continue to work in the future".

He also said that "unopposed victories" that have already been declared would now be invalid.

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