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Jun 25, 2013 at 02:54pm IST

Centre says cannot provide security forces during WB Panchayat polls

Kolkata: The Centre has on Tuesday reiterated that it cannot provide security forces to the West Bengal government for conducting the three-phased Panchayat polls next month. The Centre said that it has already deployed forces in rescue operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand and in anti-Naxal operations.

The state government has demanded paramilitary forces for secuirty cover and has admitted that it faces a shortfall of 77,000 personnel for the first phase itself. The Calcutta High Court has suggested that elections be held in five phases from the original three phases to cover the shortfall.

ALSO SEE WB Panchayat polls: HC to hear case on deployment of central forces

The High Court has deferred the hearing in the case on the deployment of central forces during Panchayat elections till 3 pm.

The High Court had on Monday slammed the Centre for not providing adequate forces for the state Panchayat elections, when it has provided such forces to other states. The state government and the State Election Commission (SEC) have locked horns over the issue of security for the polls.

ALSO SEE HC slams Centre for not providing security during WB Panchayat polls

The SEC has maintained that it is the state government's responsibility to provide adequate security forces in case new poll dates are announced. The state government had hit back and accused the state election commission of being reluctant to hold polls.

With Additional Inputs from PTI