Election panel notifies Bengal panchayat polls

Kolkata, July 3 (IANS) In accordance with the Supreme Court’s directive, the State Election Commission (SEC) Wednesday notified the West Bengal panchayat polls scheduled to be held July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25.

“As per the court’s order, we notified the panchayat polls today (Wednesday). The central security forces required for conducting the polls will start arriving in the state from July 8,” commission Secretary Tapas Roy said.

The apex court June 28 directed the polls be held in five phases with the deployment of both state and central security forces.

With polls slated during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which is likely to begin in the second week of July, the Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal government subsequently had approached the apex court seeking revision in the poll schedule.

Dismissing the plea that the holding of the polls in the month of Ramadan could adversely affect the participation of one-third of the state’s Muslim population, the apex court Tuesday refused to reschedule the polls.

In pursuance of the court’s order, the Banerjee government Tuesday notified the polls paving the way for the SEC to issue the poll notification.

Though the commission did not specify the dates for the vote count, officials said the process of elections will be completed by Aug 3.

The SEC has called a meeting of all major political parties contesting polls Saturday.

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