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Bengal Panchayat Polls: Hours After Extending Nomination Filing Date, EC Recalls It Citing Legal Issues

A statement by WBEC Commissioner AK Singh said that the communications and provisions of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003 were carefully perused and considered.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:April 10, 2018, 1:26 PM IST
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Bengal Panchayat Polls: Hours After Extending Nomination Filing Date, EC Recalls It Citing Legal Issues
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Kolkata: Hours after extending the last date for filing of nominations for panchayat polls in Bengal, the West Bengal Election Commission (WBEC) on Tuesday recalled its order citing legal issues.

A statement by WBEC Commissioner AK Singh said that though the last date was extended, a letter by the Special Secretary and a representation by the Trinamool Congress pointed out legal infirmities in the order.

The statement said that the communications and provisions of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections Act, 2003 were carefully perused and considered. “Therefore, on perusal of all the papers, the Commission hereby recalls the said order and therefore rescinds the order dated April 9, 2018.”

The opposition parties protested outside the state EC office and alleged that the poll body is spineless.

“We are confused. The situation is alarming in Bengal. It is very unfortunate that the state EC is confused about its own order. God know how they will conduct the panchayat polls. We condemn this development but we are sure people of Bengal are watching this anarchy and they will respond appropriately in coming polls,” said BJP State General Secretary Sayantan Basu said,

Meanwhile, a large number of police personnel were rushed to the state EC office to maintain the law and order situation.

Earlier in the day, the WBEC has extended the last date for filing nominations till April 10.

On Monday night, WBEC Commissioner AK Singh issued a statement saying that the last date of filing nominations has been extended by a day.

Recently, the BJP had filed two petitions in the Supreme Court against the Trinamool Congress for preventing opposition leaders from filing nominations.

However, the SC asked the petitioner to approach WBEC in case of any grievances and also instructed WBEC to exercise its power to ensure fair and peaceful polls. The apex court said that it could not interfere with the election process.

Speaking to News18, Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh said, “We welcome WBEC decision. The ruling party is afraid of polls and therefore they are preventing us from filing nominations. They know that people will reject the ruling party because of false promises they have made.”

Meanwhile, four policemen were injured in a clash between BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers at Usti in South 24 Parganas district over filing of nominations.

Panchayat polls will be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5. The counting of polls will take place on May 8.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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