New Delhi: Congress today expressed apprehension that the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal may not be free and fair because of the “volatile political ambience” there and petitioned the Election Commission which promised to take all measures to ensure clean balloting.

A Congress delegation, led by Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya, met Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath here with their six-point demands.

The delegation said a “volatile political ambience” had been created in West Bengal where “political clashes and killings have been occupying the headlines of regular news”.

Among the demands were ensuring an “overall violence-free ambience” before the elections so that the electorate could exercise their franchise without any fear.

The Congress also wanted pre-poll patrolling by the central para-military forces to ensure the confidence  of the common people.

The delegation wanted the polls to be held in five phases with strict deployment of central para-military forces and vigilance of designated officers of the Election Commission.

The Congress leaders voiced their apprehension, citing the “unprecedented violence” witnessed during last year’s panchayat elections.

Bhattacharya said the CEC assured them that the Commission would ensure free and fair elections at any cost.

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