This is a step in the right direction and going to the Supreme Court is one means to ensure elections with adequate security so that there is no violence. We will have to find some way.
~ M K Narayanan
West Bengal Governor
statesman news service
KOLKATA, 27 JUNE: Governor M K Narayanan today virtually contradicted the Trinamul Congress government’s position and put his seal of approval on the state election commission’s decision to move the Supreme Court yesterday seeking its directions to the Centre and the state government to provide adequate forces for conducting free and fair panchayat elections scheduled to begin on 2 July.
Asked to comment on the SEC decision that had triggered a virulent reaction from the state government, the Governor said: “This is a step in the right direction and going to the Supreme Court is one means to ensure elections with adequate security so that there is no violence. We will have to find some way”.
The SEC had moved the apex court yesterday after “failing to get any relief”. The Calcutta High Court Division Bench of Mr Justice Arun Mishra, Chief Justice and Mr Justice Joymalya Bagchi hearing the case had observed it was better that the matter was taken to the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice told the SEC counsel Mr Samaraditya Pal to inform the court of the outcome of the apex court hearing which will take place on 28 June.
Soon after the SEC had moved the apex court, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee termed the decision as “immoral and unprecedented.” It was all a conspiracy of both the CPI-M and the Congress to delay the poll process, he said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee made no comment on the SEC move, but charged the SEC, in collusion with the CPI-M, the Congress and the BJP, had gone to the court to defer the rural poll.
However, the Trinamul top leadership during the day maintained a studied silence on the Governor’s comments justifying the SEC’s decision to take the matter to the Supreme Court.
Mr Subrata Bakshi, Trinamul state president, said: “I’m not going to comment on the Governor’s remarks. Tomorrow the matter will be heard both in the Supreme Court and the High Court. Whatever we have to say we will say after the courts’ verdict.” The panchayat minister, insisted the state had adequate security forces and if the Centre was unable to provide forces, the rural poll would be held with the state forces.
Mr Pradeep Bhattacharjee, PCC chief, welcomed the Governor’s comments and said the SEC shouldn’t have started the election process before ensuring the availability of the Central forces. Mr Gautam Deb, CPI-M leader, said whatever the Governor said is the party&’s view.