Kolkata: Welcoming the Calcutta High Court’s order on panchayat poll, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said now people in rural Bengal would be able to vote in the three-tier panchayat system and criticised the opposition parties for putting obstacles in holding of the poll.

“The panchayat election could have been held much earlier. We have been trying since last September to hold it. But there were many obstacles,” the Chief Minister told reporters at the airport here on way to Darjeeling.

“Many wanted to stop the election. Political parties like the CPI-M, Congress and the BJP went to court. The obstacles now have been removed with the Calcutta High Court order,” a visibly happy Banerjee said.

“The state government had consulted with the State Election Commission 15 to 20 times regarding the poll. The state had already passed a bill to provide for 50 per cent reservation at all levels of the 3-tier panchayat system,” she said.

“I am very happy. All’s well that ends well. I welcome the court order. We will conduct the poll in a free and fair manner,” she told reporters before boarding the flight.

A division bench of the Calcutta high court today rejected the State Election Commission order for 800 companies of central forces to man the panchayat poll, and directed that the election be held in three phases and the process be completed by July 15.

The court also directed that the poll date be notified by the state government in consultation with the State Election Commission

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