Free Press Journal

Supreme Court to hear tomorrow BJP’s plea on panchayat polls in West Bengal


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New Delhi: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear tomorrow a plea of the BJP’s West Bengal unit alleging that its candidates are not being allowed to file their nomination papers for the upcoming panchayat polls in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of Aishwarya Bhati, the counsel for BJP state general secretary Pratap Banerjee, that an urgent hearing was required in view of the fact that last day for filing nominations was April 9.

The party has sought the court’s intervention to ensure that its nominees are allowed to file nominations.

“We will hear this tomorrow,” the bench said as Bhati made her submissions.

The petition, which has sought police protection for the BJP candidates, also asked for a direction for deployment of central paramilitary forces to maintain law and order for smooth conduct of panchayat polls scheduled next month.

The lawyer alleged that large-scale violence has been perpetrated against the BJP activists in recent times.

Bhati also referred to the recent murder of a Dalit leader in the state and accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state of fomenting trouble.

The plea sought issuance of nomination forms to the candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party so as to enable them to file their nominations in the upcoming panchayat polls.

West Bengal panchayat elections have been notified to be held on May 1, 3, and 5 with the counting to take place on May 8. As per the notification, the last date of filing nominations is April 9 and the last date of scrutiny of the nominations is April 11.

The plea alleged that the block development officers who have been appointed as the assistant panchayat electoral registration officers by the West Bengal State Election Commission, which is the authority tasked with superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the panchayats and the municipalities, are refusing to give the nomination forms to the candidates of the BJP.

“Thus, the entire election process is being reduced to a farce. In addition to refusal of nomination forms, the ruling party in state of West Bengal has unleashed violence against the candidates of the petitioner (BJP) and the candidates of the petitioner along with their families are being threatened and dissuaded from contesting the panchayat elections on the symbol of the petitioner,” the plea said.

The plea also alleged that the TMC, by resorting to the use of threats and with the help of anti-social elements, is distorting the level-playing field and defiling the sanctity and purity of the election process.

The state poll panel has abrogated its responsibility and is behaving like a mute spectator without taking any action in this regard, it claimed.