Poll panel chief dashes to Delhi

ROUND 2: Meera Pandey cancels today’s all-party meeting

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: July 2, 2013 3:02 am

On a day when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the plea filed by an NGO to reschedule the panchayat poll dates citing Ramzan,State Election Commissioner Meera Pandey on Monday evening rushed to Delhi. Tuesday’s all-party meeting which was called by the State Election Commission to discuss SC order rescheduling panchayat poll dates and specifying security force deployment now stands cancelled.

Pandey,who had visited Delhi before deciding on moving the Supreme Court over panchayat polls,on Monday cancelled several key meetings that included her interaction with poll observers,discussion with state Home Secretary,DGP and DG (law and order) and top police officials. The cancellation of the meetings clearly underlined the fact that in the event of apex court deciding to change the poll dates,the outcome of today’s meetings would have no bearing and hence had to be rescheduled.

Though there was no formal information on what led Pandey to rush to Delhi,her sudden trip to the national capital signifies the role she plays in strategising the legal battle for the State Election Commission.

Sources in the poll panel said that they would at first try to stick to the polling dates of the five phases — July 11,15,19,22 and 25 — as ordered by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The Commission would not suggest new dates to the apex court bench of Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi unless they are asked by the judiciary.

“In event of the apex court seeking suggestions from us over the new dates while hearing the review petition,we would put forward the new dates for the five-phase poll,” said a senior poll panel official.

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