Reacting to the verdict of Calcutta High Court on panchayat election nomination, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said, “We welcome the verdict. I’m hopeful that the State Election Commission will hold the election according to West Bengal Panchayat Election Act and the court’s ruling”.
“Rural polls should be held in a free, fair and expeditious way as already many days have been wasted,” the chief minister said. “Summer and monsoon would set in if there is further delay in conducting the elections and moreover we have to consider Ramzan,” she said.
The chief minister ruled out possibility of an appeal against the verdict. “After all, we did not move court. Those who did not want the election did it.” she said.
The verdict was described by BJP state secretary, Pratap Banerjee, who had first moved the petition seeking extension, as “a victory of all candidates who could not file nomination”.
The BJP had made the first appeal and in the coming days it will be seen in the front ranks of activists striving for restoration of democracy in the state, he said.
“Only one per cent of the request of combined Opposition forces has been granted by the court”, AITC counsel, Kalyan Bandopadhaya said. This is not our defeat and people will vote for the party which has worked for them during the past five years, the Trinamul Congress, he added.
Describing the court’s decison as “a landmark verdict”, PCC chief Adhir Chowdhury who had moved court in person, said that though this is a moral victory for the Opposition, the ruling party in collusion with a section of the police force will now unleash violence on the Oppostion activists and the common people.
This is a blow for the ruling party, he added. The verdict is a victory for democracy as it will rejuvenate the democratic spirit of the rural masses, CPI-M leader Rabin Deb said.
The state BJP said that the verdict is a “triumph of democracy” and a proof that the ruling Trinamul Congress tried to destroy democracy by preventing Opposition candidates from filing nomination.
The party will wait for two days to see how the State Election Commission (SEC) reschedules the polls and if its arrangements fail to ensure violence-free nomination filing by the Opposition candidates the party will go High Court again.
Addressing a Press conference at state BJP headquarters, party leader and Union minister Babul Supriyo said that this is a historic verdict and it proves that lawlessness is prevailing in the state. “This victory in the High Court will make people enthusiastic to fight against TMC-backed goons,” he said.
BJP’s state secretary Pratap Banerjee said that a meeting will be held soon to assess the steps being taken by the SEC to ensure free and fair election, then the party will decide its next course of action.
“The state BJP from the very first day after polls were announced, demanded smooth nomination submission process , but TMC-backed goons unleashed terror and deployed anti-socials in the BDO and SDO office campuses so that Opposition candidates could not file nomination papers,” he said.
Mr Banerjee said that TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee is misleading people of West Bengal by misinterpreting the HC order.
Mr Banerjee said SEC wants to bring Central Armed Forces but the state government did not allow them to do so.