The state government will not tolerate if people from outside the state tried to incite violence during the forthcoming Panchayat polls.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said this while speaking to the reporters at the secretariat Nabanna on Thursday in the backdrop of the Opposition parties
slamming the State Election Commission (SEC) for announcing the date of the Panchayat elections amidst the state-wide violence allegedly unleashed by the ruling Trinamul Congress.
“At least the polls are going to be held and we are very happy. The poll will be completed before the Ramzan month begins and polls are essential for democracy. I will appeal to all the political parties for peaceful elections,” Miss Banerjee said.
Refusing to comment on the adequate security arrangements for poll days, “We won’t allow any move to create violence and deploying people from outside Bengal during elections. Vigilance along the state borders will be strengthened to prevent the outsiders.”
Apparently criticising the BJP for allegedly carrying a photograph of killings in Bangladesh in the party’s election manifesto in Bengal she said, “They are using a photograph of an incident of killing in Bangladesh in their manifesto claiming it a picture of mass killing here. This kind of canard must be stopped. We have to fight it democratically.”
Opposition slammed SEC for announcing Panchayat poll date without consulting them and questioned how the poling can be held in the 58,000 booths in just one day.
BJP state secretary Pratap Banerjee said that SEC did not inform the party before announcing the date. He said that SEC must not declare the polling date without ensuring the adequate security for the Panchayat poll.
“We would discuss this matter. It is nothing but an autocracy. SEC has become a puppet of the state government and its commissioner is dancing as chief minister wishes,” he said.
He also threatened to go High Court and Supreme Court if SEC will not arrange the proper security for conducting free and fair poll. “The state has total 46,000 armed police and 12,000 non-armed police. If the total number of 58,000 police will be deployed then all the police stations and areas will be unprotected on the polling day,” said Banerjee.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that Panchayat poll will be a farce without arranging adequate securities for guarding the booths. He said that Left Front will launch movement and sit in demonstrations demanding restoring of the democracy and free and fair poll.
TMC backed goons along with police prevented panchayat candidates to file nomination so this same forces will prevent general voters not to cast vote in the panchayat election.
Meanwhile former PCC chief and Rajya Sabha MP, Pradip Bhattacharya said on Thursday the decision of the SEC to hold the statewide panchayat elections on 14 May have reduced a democratic process to a farcical exercise.
In 2013, the SEC had asserted its autonomous status and did not allow itself to be browbeaten, he said. Logistical problems together with the inadequacy of security forces will sound the death knell of grassroot democracy which is the essence of rural polls, Bhattacharya felt.