Kolkata: The West Bengal proposed to have Panchayat polls in four phases from the original three phases. The decision was taken at a meeting on Tuesday attended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chief Secretary and Home Secretary while the hearing was still on in the Calcutta High Court.
According to the proposal, the polls will be held on July 2 at Bankura, Purulia, West Midnapore, on July 4 at North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogly, Burdwan and East Midnapore, on July 6 at Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and Birbhum and on July 9 at Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri and South and North Dinajpur.
The decision was taken as the Centre 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.
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.
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