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SC refuses to interfere with Bengal rural polls

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to extend the last date for filing nominations of the West Bengal panchayat polls saying it cannot interfere with the election processes.

The apex court, however, granted liberty to all candidates to approach the West Bengal State Election Commission for appropriate relief.

“We have not interfered with the election process but we have granted liberty to all candidates to approach State Election Commission today itself for necessary relief,” a bench of Justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre said.

The BJP had on 6 March told the apex court that “democracy is being murdered” in West Bengal as the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) was engaged in large-scale poll violence and not allowing its candidates to file nominations for the upcoming panchayat polls.

It had also alleged that the assistant panchayat electoral registration officers appointed by the West Bengal State Election Commission were refusing to give nomination forms to BJP candidates.

The West Bengal unit of the BJP sought availability of nomination papers online, extension of the last date for filing these papers and deployment of paramilitary forces in the state in the run-up to the polls scheduled in the first week of May.

The panchayat polls are scheduled to be held on 1, 3, and 5 May.