Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will meet the State Election Commissioner on Feb 27 to take stock of preparations for the upcoming municipal polls. Mr Dhankhar said in a Twitter post this morning. According to sources, the Governor will take stock of the arrangements that have been made by the Commission till now to hold the elections.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Dhankhar said: “Will seek an update as regards upcoming Municipal Elections from the State Election Commissioner Saurabh Kumar Das on 27 February. The Commission is a constitutional body for superintendence, direction and control of Municipal Elections under article 243K of the Constitution of India.”
The poll preparations have already begun, and elections are likely to be held in the second or third week of April. According to sources in the State Election Commission, they are yet to receive any official communication from Raj Bhawan about the meeting. “We’ll take a call after we get official information,” said a senior official of the Commission. When contacted by media persons on the sidelines of a programme in north Bengal, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that there is nothing new in Mr Dhankhar’s move.
“What is new in this? Earlier too the Governor had called the then commissioner Mira Pandey. Don’t try to create an unnecessary controversy. All controversy has been doused. If any controversy arises in the future I’ll comment,” Mr Chatterjee said. However, a section of the politicians claimed that this is for the first time that the Governor will meet the election commissioner before notification of the polls.
In the last panchayat polls, a flurry of political clashes was witnessed in the state, and the Opposition parties had repeatedly complained against the poor law and order situation. Mr Dhankhar had himself raised concern over this issue, and the Opposition parties too had approached him on several occasions. Thus, the overall law and order situation in the state may also come up at the discussions on Thursday.
Recently, the relationship between the Governor and the state government turned frosty after Mr Dhankhar showcaused Vice-Chancellor of Panchanan Barma University in Cooch Behar Debkumar Mukhopadhyay for not keeping him in the loop about the university’s third convocation. However, the situation improved with chief minister Mamata Banerjee calling upon Mr Dhankhar at Raj Bhawan a few days back.