Kolkata: Firing a fresh salvo at the state poll panel, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Sunday accused its chief of favouring the Left Front and trying to defer the upcoming rural polls to save it from "an inevitable defeat". Opposition parties flayed the comments.
"The state government had made all preparations for the panchayat (rural body) polls in February, but for some unexplained reasons and beyond our comprehension, the state election commission deferred the polls from February," Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy told the media here.
The Trinamool and the state poll panel, which conducts the elections to local bodies like the panchayats and the civic bodies, have for months locked horns over the panchayat polls.
While the commission wants a three-phase voting and deployment of central paramilitary forces, the state government is pitching for a two-phase poll by pressing into service only the state police personnel.
Maintaining that it was the constitutional right of the state government to not only notify the rural polls but also fix the schedule, Roy accused state Chief Election Commissioner Meera Pandey of favouring the Left Front during whose regime she was appointed to the post.
"She (Pandey) was appointed in 2010 during the rule of the Left Front, which had recommended her to the post. It now seems she is taking all the measures to save them from an inevitable loss in the polls," he said.
"The state government will notify the polls as also fixing the date. There are no two ways about this," added Roy citing the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the opposition attacked Roy for his comments.
"The Trinamool wanted to hold panchayat elections at gunpoint. Their leadership is devoid of any respect to institutions in a democratic set up like the Election Commission and this is reflected in the remarks made by Roy," Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammad Salim said.
"His (Roy) comments are totally unwarranted and frivolous. Bureaucratic bodies must be given the independence to function impartially," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party too joined the chorus of criticism against Roy's remarks.
"If Roy alleges that those appointed during Left Front times are working on behalf of the Left, then the corollary is that those appointed in Trinamool time are working for the Trinamool," BJP state president Rahul Sinha said.