Kolkata: The West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) issued a notification extending the last day of filing nomination papers for panchayat polls by another day.
State Election Commissioner A K Singh had agreed on Saturday that there were “problems” in some areas over filing of nominations for the panchayat polls and had requested 171 block-level observers to be “impartial” while sending reports so that the panel can ensure free and fair polls.
Panchayat polls are scheduled to be held in three phases, on May 1, 3 and 5. The results will be declared on May 8. ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma said, “All booths will have armed forces during all three phases of election.”
While South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Cooch Behar, Murshidabad and Kolkata districts faced clashes, one Congress candidate was killed in a road accident in Malda, which led to a demonstration by local residents.
Over the past few days, Opposition parties have relentlessly accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of not allowing their candidate to file their nominations. TMC, in turn, has been denying the allegations.
Trinamool Congress general secretary Partha Chatterjee said, “On one hand they take out armed rally, on the other hand they are complaining to the Election Commission that they are not able to file nominations because they are being attacked. It is evident that the entire thing is planned. Places where they don’t have existence, they are saying they were not allowed to file nominations. No democratic person will give importance to such allegations. If these allegations are true, then how have so many nomination forms been filed by the opposition parties? Till yesterday, 49 per cent of nominations were filed by Opposition.”
During a press conference held on Monday, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Women being manhandled, heckled over filing nomination has never happened in Bengal and they are proud of this. They are saying Opposition has zero existence by not allowing nomination process. Our people couldn’t file nominations, they have been beaten up, thrashed in different parts of the state. They were stopped from filing nominations. State government has not been in favour of deployment of central forces.”