With the state government not willing to write to the Centre again for security forces and each of the states it asked for forces yet to respond,the rural polls beginning July 2 appear to be in jeopardy.
According to a Calcutta High Court order,the panchayat polls are going to be held in three phases July 2,July 6 and July 9. The state government had on May 30 asked for 300 companies of central forces but the Ministry of Home Affairs said it cannot spare additional forces.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee showed the Home Ministrys letter to the media at the Writers Buildings. The state Home Department,too,had informed the commission about the development.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had recently assured the Chief Minister of providing central forces,but there has reportedly been no movement at the bureaucratic level in this regard yet.
A top source in the state government told The Indian Express: The central government has already informed that it cannot provide the forces. There is,therefore,no point in writing to the Centre once again. If it will be in a position,it can send us the forces on its own,we do not have to ask them.
The official also confided that none of the three states Punjab,Orissa and Madhya Pradesh it asked for forces have responded. It is said that the states where Maoist attacks have increased are not in a position to part with forces.
There is still time (for a reply from the states) . We are also asking other states to send us the forces, the official said.
About 1.14 lakh security personnel are needed for holding the panchayat polls; the state can manage only 50,000.
Officials at the panchayat department said the situation has become difficult to deal with and it is up to the High Court to take a decision on holding the polls. Will there be elections with lathi-wielding policemen? The situation is coming to such a pass, said an official of the panchayat department.
SEC officials,too,said they were at a loss. The commission will consider the situation and take some decision, said Tapas Roy,secretary to the commission.