statesman news service
KOLKATA,1 JUNE: Trinamul Congress All India General Secretary Mukul Roy (file photo) today accused the State Election Commission of acting in a partisan manner in favour of the CPI-M and the Congress and of creating an atmosphere to make believe that a free and fair election is not possible under the Trinamul Congress government. 
Mr Roy alleged that the Opposition, in collusion with the state election commission, is trying to create an impression among the electorates that the panchayat poll is being held for the first time in the state and the Trinamul Congress is not willing to conduct it. “Actually the state election commissioner is obliging her former political bosses for extending her term from three years to six," Mr Roy alleged. He said: “With the notification of the panchayat poll, the model code of conduct has already been imposed but the Centre is still advertising in both newspapers and television channels on the proposed linking of rural roads and a 10 times’ hike in the investment of linking rural roads. This not only unethical but unconstitutional. We have written to the SEC but it is yet to take any steps against such violation of the model code of conduct.” “If the Centre can make such violations, then why can’t the state government?" he asked. 
“We would like the opposition parties to furnish specific cases of obstruction of their candidates at the nomination filing centres to prove their charges considering that the first phase of polling on 2 July is slated for 40,000 seats,” he said. 
He further said during the Left Front rule, “we could not field candidates in 7,000 seats in the 2003 panchayat poll. We could not field in candidates in all the five blocks of Arambagh, in Debra, Pingla, Garbetta,Keshpur, Ghatal, Memari, Jamalpur of West Midnapore and Burdwan respectively”. “Even in 2008, we failed to field in candidates in 2,845 seats.” Mr Roy said the current law and order situation in West Bengal is so good that it should be followed by other states as well. He alleged that Trinamul Congress workers were killed at Dinhata in Cooch Behar and at Barasat in North 24 Parganas and many of them were injured at Haripal, Memari and Malda, too. This being the eighth panchayat poll, Mr Roy said in the first phase, the election will be held in 210 blocks, 30,000 gram panchayats, 5,792 panchayat samities and 514 zilla parishads. Claiming that his party was committed to strengthening democracy and democratic institutions, he said: “Not a single election in the state since the TMC came to power has been rigged or has witnessed any electoral malpractice.” He said nominations were being filed “smoothly and peacefully".