Written byRajashree Seal ·
The West Bengal panchayat election would be held in a single-phase on May 14, the State Election Commission announced in Kolkata on Thursday.
Earlier, the elections were scheduled to be held in three phases on May 1, May 3 and May 5 and the counting was to take place on May 8.
However, the Calcutta High Court had stayed the poll process.
The Calcutta HC directed the SEC to reschedule the election dates after opposition parties submitted a plea, alleging that TMC members were not allowing them to file nominations.
"The panchayat election will be held in one phase on May 14. Any re-poll, if needed, will be held on May 16. The date of counting will be notified later," said SEC Secretary Nilanjan Shandilya.
SEC Secretary Shandilya said the poll panel had requested the state government to make sufficient security arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
The SEC secretary, however, evaded a question on how would the state police be able to provide security if the election is held in a single phase at 58,467 polling booths spread across the state.
Speaking on why the SEC decided on a single-phase polling, Shandilya said there were many reasons, including the month of Ramzan.
Various Muslim organizations yesterday had met the SEC and urged it not to hold the polls during the month of Ramzan beginning May 16/17, as Muslims might find it difficult to take part in the polling process amid the fasting.
The opposition parties in West Bengal lashed out at the State Election Commission (SEC) for announcing single-phase elections in the state and said the ruling TMC was desperate to win the panchayat elections at any cost.
The Congress, the CPI(M)-led Left Front, and the BJP denounced the SEC for not consulting the stakeholders before announcing the new poll date.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, expressed happiness with the announcement of the date of panchayat polls and hoped that it would be a peaceful election. The election on May 14 will be held from 7 am to 5 pm.
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