Kolkata, May 10 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday welcomed the Calcutta High Court’s verdict allowing the State Election Commission to go ahead with the rural polls on May 14 and said the state government wants the election to be peaceful.
“This verdict is in favour of the people. We are in favour of democracy and election. We want the election to be peaceful,” Banerjee told reporters here.
Acting on a Congress petition that sought the quashing of the May 14 Panchayat elections on the ground of inadequate security, a division bench of High Court Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee said it would not intervene in the election process if the SEC was satisfied with the security arrangements made by the state.
It also directed the commission to ensure a free and fair election process.
Welcoming the verdict, state’s ruling Trinamool Congress said the party is ready for the Panchayat polls to be held on May 14.
“As a party we are ready as per the direction of the court and as per the decision of the state election commission, the election has been declared on May 14. So all preparations for the election are being taken,” Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said.
“We work for the people 365 days a year. So it is not a matter of election to be held on May 14 or later. As of now we are going by the declaration of SEC to hold polling on May 14,” he said.
Chatterjee claimed the state opposition parties had no other options other than forming a nexus among themselves and moving court, as Trinamool is the only party in the state that has people’s support.
“The SEC had declared the polling dates but three of our friends (opposition parties) moved court to delay the election process…We have said before that Trinamool Congress is the only party here who are with the people. The opposition parties do not have any weapons apart from forming a nexus and moving court, to counter us.”
Chatterjee also claimed that the delay in elections has adversely impacted the state’s economy and developmental works as the model code of conduct has been enforced.
The SEC had previously declared three-phased rural polls in Bengal on May 1, 3 and 5 but was directed to issue a fresh election schedule by the Calcutta High Court following complaints of pre-poll violence and problems in submitting of nomination papers by the state opposition parties.
The commission then announced May 14 as the fresh polling date.