Congress, Trinamool to move SC on panchayat polls

Kolkata, June 30 (IANS) With the West Bengal panchayat polls slated during Ramadan, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Congress will move the Supreme Court Monday for an amending order to defer the elections as the Muslim holy month begins in the second week of July.

“We will approach the Supreme Court Monday seeking an order that the panchayat polls should not be held during Ramadan,” Trinamool Congress leader Sultan Ahmed said.

Ahmed added that the state government will support the move.

Trinamool Congress parliamentarian and state government counsel in the panchayat poll case Kalyan Banerjee Saturday had said the party was mulling approaching the apex court on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Congress blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress for the poll schedule during Ramadan.

“Our minority cell will move the Supreme Court Monday seeking a modification in the order,” Congress leader Abdul Mannan said.

Mannan also sought a public apology from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for hurting religious sentiments.

“They had a battery of lawyers fighting the case, but no one bothered to inform the court that the dates decided by the court would clash with the month of Ramadan. The chief minister should publicly apologise for creating such a situation,” added Mannan.

Following a prolonged legal tussle between the State Election Commission (SEC) and Banerjee’s regime, an apex court bench Friday ordered the polls to be held July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25.

Earlier in the day, several Muslim organisations held a protest rally in the city and submitted a memorandum to the SEC demanding that the polls should not be held during Ramadan. The organisations have also threatened to take legal recourse if their demand was not met.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have accused the Banerjee government of being “insensitive” to the causes of the minority community.

Meanwhile, the SEC Sunday wrote to the state government asking it to notify the polls.

“We today (Sunday) sent an e-mail asking the state government to notify the polls,” SEC secretary Tapas Roy said, adding that state Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra had met State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey.

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