Bengal panchayat elections to be held in single phase on 14 May

Bengal Panchayat Polls: Calcutta High Court orders State Election Commission to accept nominations filed via WhatsApp

Bengal Panchayat Polls: Calcutta High Court orders State Election Commission to accept nominations filed via WhatsApp

Any re-poll, if needed, will be held on May 16.

While interacting with reporters at Nabanna, the state secretariat, Banerjee said: "We are happy with the new dates".

Earlier on Tuesday, state panchayat and rural development officer on special duty Saurabh Das met state election commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh for more than 50 minutes from 1 p.m. Das went to Nabanna and was supposed to return to the SEC headquarters on Rawdon Street after meeting CM Mamata Banerjee and chief secretary Moloy De.

"The state will look into the security arrangements", he said, while declining to take questions on the opposition parties demand for deployment of central forces in the state for free and fair poll.

"The state government asked the SEC unilaterally to hold polls on May 14, and it has obliged". "Does the SEC has any Aladdin lamp to conduct such a massive poll on one single day?"

According to this rule, the election can not be held before May 14.

However, the Opposition parties approached the Calcutta High Court alleging attack on their supporters and the process was deferred. Though done in view of largescale pre-poll violence ahead of the state panchayat polls, it's being viewed as a step towards online filing of nominations in elections.

The West Bengal government and the TMC had objected to the nomination date extension by the SEC, which had cited a Supreme Court direction to "allay the apprehensions of aspiring candidates" in its notification which had extended the nomination deadline by a day. The Court has also directed the SEC to submit its report to the Court by April 30.

"But the order was passed after 9 pm and the 10 (April) morning we saw that the order was withdrawn", he said.

As the petitioner pleaded that the court intervene, the HC directed the SEC to accept the WhatsApp nominations and ensure they do not get rejected.

Left Front chairman and senior CPI-M leader Biman Bose also pulled up the SEC for not talking to representatives of political parties before announcing the polling date. But they couldn't file their nominations because of the politics of violence by TMC. Nine of the eleven candidates have filed nomination through WhatsApp.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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