The panchayat polls in the state could be advanced by five-six months but the Mamata Banerjee government will not dissolve the panchayats,panchayat samitis and zila parishads before they complete full terms in order to avoid criticism. The polls are scheduled to be held in May 2013.
Trinamool sources said the party is confident of making a clean sweep in most zila parishads and panchayat samitis the policy-making bodies in the three-tier panchayat set-up.
We think the CPM and Congress are not in a position to field candidates in most panchayats. We are confident of victory, said a senior Trinamool leader and a key minister in the Mamata cabinet.
State panchayat and rural development minister Subrata Mukherjee said the state government was in the process of completing the formalities for the panchayat poll.
The Chief Minister has said the panchayat poll will be held after Durga Puja. We are conducting an OBC survey based on which reservation will be done. The delimitation work of constituencies is also being done. Once the process is over,discussions with the home department and other departments will be held. After that,we will submit reports to the State Election Commission,which will announce the poll dates, Mukherjee said.
The Chief Minister will also tour districts,including Birbhum and Burdwan,starting July 26.
When asked about the Oppositions apprehensions that they will not be allowed to field candidates in a many pockets,Mukherjee said: The poll will be free and fair. But I do not know whether the CPM and Congress are in a position to field candidates in all 3,351 panchayats,341 panchayat samitis and 17 zila parishads. This is a planned propaganda against us because the CPM has lost ground. I saw media reports that the CPI-M is now inviting women to fight polls. I do not know from where they will find women to fight poll in 50 per cent seats.
For the first time in the state,50 per cent seats for women have been reserved in panchayat polls.
Mukherjee said the government will not dissolve panchayat bodies before they complete their terms. Even if we dissolve the bodies,we will not gain anything because the elected representatives are legally empowered to complete their five-year term. So why should we take such a step, Mukherjee said.
We have lagged behind in financially assisting the SHGs. This will certainly be our focus area now. The bio-metric technology will be implemented in MNREGA scheme to ensure that actual beneficiaries get the wage, Mukherjee said,adding he has written to Union Panchayat and Rural Development Minister seeking release of Rs 1,000 crore to the state for MNREGA scheme.