WB panchayat poll: SEC asks govt to change date of 3rd phase

Last Updated: Sat, May 18, 2013 15:17 hrs

Kolkata: The West Bengal State Election Commission today asked the West Bengal government to change the date of the third phase of the panchayat poll, due on July 10, the day on which the Rathayatra festival falls.

SEC Secretary Tapas Roy told PTI that he had written to the state government, which had suggested that the panchayat polls be held on July 2, 6, 10, to change the date of the third phase.

The letter followed objections raised at an all-party meeting against holding the third phase of the polls on July 10 as it coincided with the car festival.

Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said the matter would be discussed with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

"Most likely, the date will be changed," Mukherjee said.

Meanwhile, the SEC held a meeting during the day with the district magistrates and SPs of nine districts to review law and order for the polls.

The mode of deployment of forces, in view of its dearth, were discussed at the meeting in which State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey was present.

Commission officials said security of ballot papers and strongrooms were discussed at the meeting, which lasted for over three hours.

They said the district authorities were informed about the start of the polling process and coming into force of model code of conduct after poll notification, which is yet to be made.

The state government has proposed that in the first phase of nine districts - North and South 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Howrah, Hooghly and Burdwan be held on July 2.

In the second phase on July 6, elections were proposed to be held in Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia and Birbhum districts followed by North and South Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts in the third phase on July 10.

The Calcutta High Court on May 14 had directed that the panchayat election be held in three phases and the dates be announced by the state in consultation with the commission.

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