statesman news service
KOLKATA, 28 JUNE: The Trinamul Congress today sought to portray the Supreme Court’s directive ordering panchayat elections in the state to be held in five phases as a victory for the Mamata Banerjee-led government, claiming the said the apex court verdict had foiled the State Election Commission’s attempt “to stall” the rural polls in the interest of the CPI-M.
Mr Kalyan Banerjee, Trinamul Congress MP said: “It’s the victory for the state government as the panchayat poll will ultimately be held which the state election commissioner wanted to stop.”
“We are happy that though the SEC wanted fresh nominations to be filed, the Supreme Court has turned down the proposal and the election of the candidates who were unopposed will remain valid,” Mr Banerjee said.
But the extension of polling dates till 25 July will put the state government in a fix as
the Assembly session cannot
be convened during the
five-phase rural polling starting from 11 July.
“It’s mandatory to pass the departmental budgets in July as the state finance minister passed a vote-on-account for four months starting from April,” said Mr Biman Banerjee, the Speaker of the state Assembly.
“We will face a real crisis if the departmental budgets are not passed during July. The Assembly session which is to start from 14 July will have to be postponed as no MLA will turn up during the five-phase rural poll,” Mr Banerjee said.
He also said he would have to speak to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, state finance minister Amit Mitra and state Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee on this issue.
Mr Banerjee said: “We may summon the House on 26 July and expect to pass only the budgets of very important departments, while the rest will have to be guillotined.”
On the other hand, Leader of the Opposition Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra said : “A long awaited direction has been given by the Supreme Court in keeping with the compulsions (of the circumstances). I hope both the sides will go by it and a free and fair election will be held in the state.” he added.
Mr Shankudeb Panda, Trinamul Chhatra Parishad president, said the CPI-M shouldn’t talk about free and fair polls, since it had mastered the art of scientific rigging during its 34-year-long rule.
Welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Pradip Bhattacharya said: “The desire of the democratic people of the state has been upheld by the Supreme Court.”