After the Election Commission announced the dates of the Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sunil Gupta conducted an emergency all-party meeting.
Representatives of political parties gave suggestions during the meeting and the model code of conduct was also discussed.
After the meeting, Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy said they were dissatisfied over certain issues but respected the decisions of the Election Commission (EC). “While there would be a five-phase election here, we believe the one-phase election in certain states have been done to give a certain political party an edge. Similarly, breaking the election of a same district in Bengal in two different phases has also been done to give some added advantage to a political party here. But setting these rules are the prerogative of the EC and we respect it and we will work according to the EC guidelines,” he said.
CPM leader Rabin Deb said beginning March 9, voters have been asked to visit their respective booths on all Sundays before the last date of filing nominations to check if their names have been included in electoral rolls.
A booth level officer would be present there. “We have requested the CEO to ensure there is adequate security in at 77,241 booths across the state at the time,” he said.
Senior Congress leader Manas Bhuniya said they have asked for deployment of an observer at all the booths and the CEO had said it would be done at sensitive booths.
Bhuniya also said in the past, there had been a lot of non-cooperation from District Magistrate (DM) and Superintendent of Police (SP) of certain districts. “We have requested the EC to ensure that the DMs and SPs take phone calls,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the EC told mediapersons that a number of initiatives have been taken to ensure free and fair elections.