Monday, July 15, 2024

Panchayat polls: Central forces to remain deployed for 10 days after counting day, directs Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the central armed forces to remain deployed in West Bengal for 10 days after the results for the July 8 panchayat elections are declared on July 11.

“There had been instances of post-poll violence in West Bengal before. So in order to ensure the safety of the public and the elected representatives, the central forces will remain deployed in the state for 10 days after the counting day,” noted the division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya.

Meanwhile, on the petition filed by leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari against the launch of state government’s mass outreach programme ‘Sorasori Mukhyomontri’ (directly Chief Minister) for violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the bench cautioned the State Election Commission to be more careful in such matters.

Through this programme, the common people can directly convey their grievances to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Adhikari alleged that the phone number used for the outreach programme is the same that was used in a similar scheme introduced before the 2021 Assembly polls called ‘Didike Bolo’ (Tell Didi), which was basically a political initiative.

SEC counsel Kishore Dutta informed the court that the number in question had been withdrawn on June 15. Thereafter, the bench settled the matter but only after cautioning the Commission.

In his petition, Adhikari also alleged that some police officers were transferred after the polling date was announced in violation of MCC. However, this matter was also settled as the SEC counsel informed the court that the transfer orders were withdrawn on June 24.

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