Doubtful if Trinamool government can hold peaceful panchayat polls: Union Minister

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Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Sunday decried the violence centred around submission of nominations for the upcoming West Bengal panchayat elections, saying it was doubtful if the Trinamool Congress government could hold peaceful polls.

“The developments with regard to the Panchayat polls in Bengal cannot be part of the democratic tradition. Violence should not take place in the run-up to the polls,” he said on the sidelines of a programme here.

Iterating that in a democracy, every election down to the municipality of panchayat level should be held peacefully, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader expressed doubts over whether the state government had the capability to conduct a violence-free poll.

“How can we say the state government had the capability to tackle the situation and conduct peaceful polls, after seeing the images and getting to know whatever is happeing?” he said in reply to a question.

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The Calcutta High Court has halted the panchayat poll procedure on a petition filed by the BJP. Other opposition parties – the Left and the Congress – have also approached the judiciary accusing the ruling Trinamool of unleashing massive pre-poll violence on their party workers over the filing of nominations for the rural polls since the process began on April 2.

They also accused the State Election Commission of acting like a puppet of the state ruling party after it withdraw its order of extending the nomination process by a day, within a few hours of issuing it.

The panchayat elections are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5, while the counting of votes is due on May 8.

–IANS

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