SEC cites Presidency ruckus

PUSHING the case for the deployment of central paramilitary forces in the state during the panchayat elections,the state election commission on Thursday cited the recent violence at Presidency University campus to emphasize on the law and order situation during the hearing on its petition seeking scrapping of the government’s poll notification at the Calcutta High Court.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:April 19, 2013 4:25 am

PUSHING the case for the deployment of central paramilitary forces in the state during the panchayat elections,the state election commission on Thursday cited the recent violence at Presidency University campus to emphasize on the law and order situation during the hearing on its petition seeking scrapping of the government’s poll notification at the Calcutta High Court.

Representing the poll panel,Samaraditya Pal referred to the violence that erupted in the state following the heckling of Finance Minister Amit Mitra in Delhi by SFI workers.

Pal told Justice Biswanath Somadder,who is hearing the case,that the state police failed to tackle law and order problem in recent days and hence deployment of Central paramilitary forces was essential to conduct the panchayat polls in free and fair manner.

After hearing Pal’s contention,the judge asked Pal as well as Jayanta Mitra,the counsel of the state government,whether they had witnessed such kind of incidents at Presidency College in the past. To which both replied in negative. Both Pal and Mitra are alumni of the prestigious college.

‘Govt not treating panchayat polls at par with Assembly elections’

During the three-hour argument,Pal said that it appeared from the the letters of the state government that it former did not give same importance to the panchayat elections as compared to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. But the panchayat poll is not less important than the Assembly elections and the panchayats,the constitutional body cannot be run in a democratic manner without holding the election,he contended. Pal said the existing panchayats term expire by June 26,so the elections for the three-tier bodies should be held before that,said Pal.

Pal alleged that the state government did not specify the number of the security force to be deployed for the polls in the letters written to the commission between December and March. He said the commission cannot conduct the poll on the basis of the “presumptions” of the availability of security forces. The commission had sought 800 companies of central forces for the poll.

He said 58 people were killed in 2003 and 23 in 2008 panchayat polls which were managed by state police. But no was killed in 2009 Lok Sabha elections and 2011 Assembly polls which were managed by central forces along with state police.

Cong demands quick poll under central forces

The Youth Congress march in Kolkata on Thursday to protest against the violence “perpetrated by the ruling Trinamool Congress on Congress workers” became a rallying point to slam the state government for delaying the panchayat polls in the state. “(Chief Minister) Mamata (Banerjee) had created all the problems and the polls have been delayed only because of her ego. We demand a prompt and fair election in the state,” said senior Congress leader Manas Bhuniya,who reiterated the party’s demand for holding the elections under the vigil of central paramilitary forces.

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