Mamata 'killing' democracy in West Bengal - BJP

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A BJP delegation led by its leaders from West Bengal on Thursday met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to apprise them of the ongoing violence in the state ahead of the upcoming panchayat polls. "The panchayat election will be held on May 14", a spokesman of the SEC told newsmen here. While re-election will be held on May 16, election result will be declared on May 17.

With the Commission coming out with a fresh day for one-phase poll the opposition parties now have expressed concern about the security arrangements "particularly when the State has assured a total 58,000 police personnel to be posted at 58,446 booths".

According to this rule, the election can not be held before May 14.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Meanwhile retired Supreme Court Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said that though the High Court does not generally interfere in the election process but the entire panchayat election process in West Bengal has remained violent since declaration of dates of nomination and election.

"The state government asked the SEC unilaterally to hold polls on May 14, and it has obliged".

The Calcutta High Court had on April 20 directed the SEC to reschedule the dates for the panchayat polls.

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Accusing the ruling Trinamool of vitiating the Panchayat system fashioned by the erstwhile Left Front regime, Bhattacharjee said its activists have robbed the people of their rights and indulged in corruption.

Available forces are so inadequate that even top IPS officers would have to be detailed to guard polling booths, said Sayantan Basu, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party would have filed nominations in all the seats "had there been no violence or threats by the TMC goons".

Democratic space in the state is shrinking and the Mamata government is trampling on democracy, it alleged.

On the high court order, the SEC had announced April 23 as the extended date for filing nominations for the three-tier rural election.

Attacking Banerjee, Roy said she has encouraged Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers to create law and order problem across the state and intimidate candidates from other parties to stop them from filing their nominations.