EC’s Safeguard Manual Seems Numb In Pachayat Election


Kolkata: A system of sending observers to the districts before the process of filing of nomination for the Bengal panchayat polls start is unlikely to be followed in this summer’s ballot.

Filing of nomination for the rural polls will start on Monday and sources said the government has not sent any list of observers to the panel. “This means the government doesn’t want to continue with the process of keeping observers during the filing of nominations,” said a source in Nabanna.

Mira Pande, who was the state election commissioner in the 2013 polls, had introduced the system of sending observers to the districts to monitor the filing of nominations and check possible malpractices. Sources in the commission said Pande had sent observers to the districts the day before the nominations.

But this year, it appears that the poll body will not be able to send such observers. Opposition parties have vowed to make it an issue and the panel may have to face embarrassment if the matter is taken to court.

A source in the commission said that it had sought a list of 425 officials from state secretariat Nabanna a month ago to deploy them as observers for the polls. But till Saturday evening, the panel did not have the names.

The last date of nomination is April 9, which raises the possibility that the nomination filing would not be monitored. A senior Nabanna official, however, argued that there is no hard and fast rule on mandatory presence of observers during the nomination process.