Bengal government comes up with new poll notification in court

Kolkata, April 4 (IANS) In a sudden twist during the court hearing of the West Bengal poll panel’s plea to strike down the state government’s notification to organise panchayat elections later this month, the latter Thursday came up with a new notification proposing polls early May.

The government also urged the state election commission to issue subsequent orders for the polls.

The latest notification was brought before the Calcutta High Court by the state’s Advocate General Bimal Chatterjee. It provides for holding two-phase polls May 5 and May 8 respectively.

Justice Biswanath Samaddar said the parties could settle their differences in the weekend out of court and the court would be “more than happy” if free and fair polls can be held.

He said if the commission and the government failed to resolve the dispute, the court could hear the matter Tuesday.

But in the fresh notification, that was announced by the advocate general after hour-long argument in court, the government stuck to its stand to hold the polls by deploying the state police or, if required, those from the neighbouring states. The commission has sought 800 companies of central paramilitary troopers.

The advocate general said the government’s previous notification to organise the rural polls

April 26 and April 30 has become ineffective with the election panel not issuing subsequent notification for holding the polls.

Representing the election panel, senior counsel Samaraditya Pal said the advocate general had not said anything new, butwas only referring to the views of the state government earlier mentioned in its communication to the Commission.

He stressed that the deployment of central paramilitary troopers is a must for the elections, and expressed doubts over the advocate general’s assurance that the government will extend all help.

How would he government bridge the gap between the availability and requirement of forces for conducting the polls, he asked.

But Pal agreed to discussions with the government regarding the notification.

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