CHIEF MINISTER Mamata Banerjee did not mince words while taking a dig at the Election Commission of India (EC) for announcing a polls in the six phases — from April 4 to may 16 — in the state.
“If the Election Commission wanted, it could have had a 294-day poll schedule for the 294 Assembly seats in Bengal. I would still have been happy,” she told mediapersons in Kolkata.
Without attacking the EC, Mamata made it clear the long election schedule was part of a “political conspiracy” at the behest of the Congress, CPM and BJP. “CPM, Congress and BJP who can’t fight us politically always spread canards against Bengal… Whatever the Election Commission decided we will follow it. But we don’t like it that Bengal is always treated in a step-motherly manner,” she said.
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“We welcome Election Commission’s decision to go for six-phase poll. We will fight the battle. But in Bengal, which is a peaceful state, elections are being held in six phases spread out in seven days… It is the prerogative of the EC. I have nothing to say against them as it is a constitutional body. We will fight the battle,” she said when asked to comment on the EC’s decision to hold six-phase poll in Bengal.
Mamata, however, pointed out: “It defied logic how a state like Assam, with so many problems and communal tension, could have had a two-day poll schedule. Polling in Tamil Nadu, with 234 Assembly seats, could be completed in one day. Kerala is another unique case.”
“In Bengal, there is no communal tension, no violence. Yet, it has got such a lengthy schedule. However, according to democratic norms, the EC is empowered to do so…” she added.
Reacting to EC’s decision to deploy central forces in each and every booth of Bengal, the CM said: “Why not in other states also? They can send 10 crore police for every voter. We don’t have problem with that.”