New Delhi: The Election Commission has rejected the requests of West Bengal government and the State Election Commission for putting in abeyance the process of electoral revision of rolls starting October 1 for holding panchayat elections.
According to sources, the Commission has in a reply to the state government and SEC made it clear that the nation-wide revision of electoral rolls will be conducted as per schedule from October 1, as the process in West Bengal will be over with final publication of electoral rolls on January 2, 2013.
"The Commission considered the requests and decided that there is no valid reason to put in hold the process of electoral roll revision in west Bengal...The Commission has also advanced the date for final publication of electoral rolls in the state from January 15 to January 2 and hence their demand is 'not reasonable'," said a top EC official.
The West Bengal Chief Secretary, on behalf of the government, and State Election Commission had separately written to the Election Commission to allow exemption to the state from conducting electoral revision of rolls as the state plans to conduct panchayat polls in January-February next.
The Commission has said that since the process of electoral roll revision will be over by January 2, it does not clash with the proposed dates for panchayat polls slated in January-February.
The state government's move to advance the panchayat polls has been opposed vehemently by the Congress and four Left parties, which had also knocked at the Election Commission door, asking it to not allow the state government to put in abeyance the revision of electoral rolls.
Leaders of the Congress, the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc had also met top EC officials and raised objections on the Trinamool Congress-led government's move to advance panchayat polls scheduled in May 2013, and conduct it on the basis of unrevised rolls.
This was "not only contrary to the best traditions of holding elections in a transparent and non-partisan manner, but also aims to overturn the decisions already taken and steps initiated by the Election Commission," they said.
"We are given to understand that the Chief Secretary of West Bengal government has written to the Commission to put in abeyance the process of revision of rolls. We are further given to understand that the alleged reason for this request was that the state administration will be involved in the preparation for the panchayat elections," the Left leaders said in a memorandum submitted to the EC.
Among the Left leaders who met EC officials were Narahari Mahato (AIFB), D Raja (CPI), Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M) and Abani Roy (RSP).