statesman news service
KOLKATA, 15 JUNE: The State Election Commission (SEC) today wrote to the state government, seeking details of the status on the demand of Central forces during the polls. “The commission wants to know if Central forces would be made available during the panchayat polls,” said Mr Tapas Ray, the commission’s secretary.
The government, however, denied having received any such letter from the commission till late in the evening. Sources said, the poll panel&’s concern over security has escalated, especially after large number of seats remained uncontested in the first phase where polls are to be held in nine districts. The secretary added, the poll panel is yet to take a decision on increasing the poll phases in view of the shortage of security personnel.  The commission had earlier opposed the 9-4-4 formula for the panchayat polls, but later acquiesced to honour the High Court’s verdict to complete the election process by 15 July.
“The poll panel has not barred the district magistrates from issuing certificates to the winning candidates,” said the commission’s secretary said, refuting the reports that certificates would be handed only after the end of polls.  
Meanwhile, the Congress today took out a rally and submitted a deputation to the state election commission demanding fair and peaceful polls. The rally that was taken out from near Birla planetarium was stopped halfway by  policemen. A few congressmen then walked to the commission to submit the deputation.  The Congress leaders said, the large number of uncontested seats and reports of violence make it clear that muscle power has been used to thwart the democratic process of electing representatives.