Kolkata: A day after State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha had announced the date of rural polls on July 8, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress moved Calcutta High Court urging extension of nomination filing date and deployment of central forces during the rural poll.
“The petitioner also seeks for deployment of central forces from the date of filing nomination till the declaration of results; for a direction upon the Election Commissioner, West Bengal State Election Commission to ensure that the candidates are permitted to file their nominations before the State Election Commissioner and/or District Magistrate of the district concerned and for certain other interim reliefs,” read the order of the division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam.
The division bench of the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court also asked the SEC to submit the report before the court on June 12.
State Election Commission should ensure free and fair polls
“The endeavour of the State Election Commission should be that there should be fair and free elections and the electorate should have confidence in the Election Commission that all will be done well so that they can exercise their franchise in a peaceful manner and elect their desired representative,” further read the order.
“So far as ensuring free and fair polls, it goes without saying that right from the stage of filing of nomination till the counting of votes and publishing results the entire process should be videographed and the video footages have to be protected and preserved and the duty lies with the State Election Commission in this regard,” said the order.
On the other hand, the state election commission along with state chief secretary and DG held a meeting regarding the rural polls.
According to election commission sources, in the meeting it has been decided that if needed the date of nomination filing can be extended and also every polling booth will have armed state police.
“If there is need of deployment of central forces then it can be arranged from the neighborhood states,” said the sources.
BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Peaceful voting cannot be held without central forces. No sooner did the date of the election was announced infighting between Trinamool Congress (TMC) was seen. The voters cannot be saved without central forces.”
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “Is opposition making a farce of the rural poll? Where is the need for central forces? If central forces are deployed for rural polls here then why was it not applicable in Tripura?” questioned Ghosh.
Meanwhile, at several places sporadic incidents of violence were seen while filing of nomination and at several places both the ruling party and opposition had to return empty handed as nomination files were not available.