Use central forces in Bengal panchayat polls, demands Congress

Kolkata, March 30 (IANS) Citing law and order problems in West Bengal, the Congress Saturday said it was imperative to conduct the upcoming panchayat (rural body) polls under the strict vigil of central security forces for free and fair elections.

“People representing Trinamool Congress are threatening our workers whenever they are organising meetings and in some places, people are being asked to give a fine to become a Congress candidate,” state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya.

“That is why we have asked the election commission for deploying police at the time of filing nominations,” he added.

He said it was government’s responsibility to make necessary arrangements in order to conduct free and fair election.

“The government is saying that they don’t have funds, but this is not true, the economic resources at the disposal of the government ultimately belong to the voters of the state,” said Bhattacharya.

He also claimed that his party workers were facing problems obtaining caste certificates.

“I don’t know whether other parties are facing the same problem or not, but this is obstructing us in preparing for the elections. If we don’t get these certificates the government will be responsible,” said Bhattacharya.

The Mamata Banerjee government which has locked horns with the state election commission over the scheduling of the Panchayat polls, defied the panel’s recommendations and announced the two-phase schedule.

As the per the announcement, the voting will be held April 26 and 30.

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