WB rural polls: Guv summons officials over Oppn allegations of violence

Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has summoned senior government officials tomorrow amid allegations by the opposition parties that the ruling Trinamool Congress was preventing their candidates from filing nominations for the panchayat polls, official sources said.

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi

Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De and Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya have been asked to attend a meeting at Raj Bhawan, a state government official said.

Sources in the Raj Bhavan also said that the governor has given an appointment to State Election Commissioner A K Singh tomorrow.

The governor’s decision to call for a meeting came hours after state BJP president Dilip Ghosh met him today to complain about the “prevailing situation” in the state.

Several BJP candidates have been beaten up in various parts of the state when they tried to file nominations for the next month’s rural polls, Ghosh alleged, adding the TMC are scared of the BJP and that why they are trying to stop the saffron party candidates from filing nominations.

“We met the governor and told him about the prevailing situation. He assured us that he will look into the matter,” the state BJP president said.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had made similar allegations against the ruling party yesterday. Chowdhury said that Congress nominees were not allowed to submit nomination papers in Murshidabad district.

Left Front chairman in the state Biman Bose claimed that the State Election Commission (SEC) was not prepared to hold the panchayat polls.

“The incidents of rampant violence prove that the SEC is not prepared to hold the polls. It has announced the polls just to satisfy the ruling TMC,” Bose said.

Refuting the allegations, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the opposition parties were trying to “disturb peace and stability” in the state.

“We have full faith that the SEC will take the right decision. The opposition parties don’t enjoy popularity among the masses,” he said.

Reacting to the opposition’s allegations, the SEC said they will “look into the matter”.

Sources in the SEC said the police administration in the state has been asked to tighten security and clamp prohibitory orders, if necessary, in and around the nomination centres.

The panchayat election is scheduled to be held in 20 districts of West Bengal on May 1, 3 and 5. The filing of nominations began yesterday and will continue till April 9.