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Panchayat elections: WB govt to appeal against Calcutta HC order

Press Trust of India
May 10, 2013 at 07:55pm IST

Kolkata: The West Bengal government would appeal against the Calcutta High Court order upholding the primacy of the State Election Commission and asking it to provide names of 400 observers for the panchayat polls by Saturday, Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said.

"We will appeal against the order before a division bench as early as possible because it is unrealistic and will undermine the federal structure and the state's minimum powers," Mukherjee told reporters reacting to the HC order.

"It is not true that we are not accepting the order. The order is so unrealistic that it is not possible for the administration to implement it," he said. Asked what was unrealistic about the order, Mukherjee said "It is not possible to prepare a list of 400 observers and make arrangements for central forces by Saturday.

Panchayat elections: WB govt to appeal against Calcutta HC order

The Calcutta HC on Friday upheld the state EC's decision to hold three-phase Panchayat polls.

"Also, how can we ask the Centre for central forces, unless the date of poll is announced by the SEC?" he asked. "There is a minimum procedure for requesting the Centre for central force which takes time," he said. Asked if the state government was against deployment of central forces, he replied, "If the court directs then there is no objection. But there is procedural and administrative objections to its implementation."

Claiming that the order favoured 'vested interests', he said, the CPI(M), Congress and BJP would be benefitted "as they do not want the panchayat elections as they are afraid of defeat. "But we are determined to hold the panchayat election as per schedule," Mukherjee said.

Asked if there would be constitutional crisis if the polls were not held as per schedule, Mukherjee said it would, but the panchayats would not be affected and there was precedence of such a situation in some other states. "It will also not create any problem in getting central funds," the minister said.

Before meeting the press Mukherjee held a meeting with Law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya.

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