Mamata blames opposition for ‘delaying’ panchayat polls, opposition hits back

Kolkata, April 17 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the CPI-M, Congress and the BJP of joining hands to “deliberately delay” the panchayat polls in the state and claimed they were shying away from the election because of their lack of public connect.

The BJP and the Congress meanwhile blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress’s “violence” for the delay.

“CPI-M, Congress and BJP are the three brothers. They play one kind of role here and another kind of role in Delhi. Election is a democratic right. If they reality believe in the people, why are they shying away from the election and trying to deliberately defer the polls by rising various political questions?” asked Banerjee.

Refusing to comment on the Calcutta High Court’s decision not to interfere with a single bench order staying the election process, she however, claimed government work was suffering due to the unwanted delay in the polling process.

“The reality is we are suffering due to this delay in the polling process. The dates were fixed based on the administrative calendar,” said Banerjee, also the Trinamool supremo.

“We have seen that the Higher Secondary examination and nomination process for the rural polls took place simultaneously. All the exams were conducted peacefully. The nomination process has also been completed in many places,” she added.

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to interfere with a single bench order staying the West Bengal Panchayat election process, but asked the judge to hear the case on “fast track”.

The matter will now be heard by the single judge bench at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Welcoming the High Court’s decision, the BJP, however, blamed the state ruling party’s arm-twisting tactics for its opposition to the possible delay in the polls.

“It is certain that the election would be deferred. The High Court would be able to tell how much would it be deferred. Trinamool Congress is solely responsible for the delay in Panchayat polls,” said BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha.

“If they refrained from conducting violence during the nomination process and did not misuse the administration, then none of us would have fallen in such a queer situation. I think the court has given its verdict against the violence centering the rural polls,” he said.

State Congress President Adhir Chowdhury, who also held a day long fast on Monday along with his party workers here to protest the pre-poll violence by Trinamool Congress, claimed the High Court’s decision is a moral victory for the opposition parties and a defeat for the state government.

“Today’s verdict proves that the Panchayat polls in Bengal is not transparent. It is filled with controversies and marred with violence. That’s why the High Court has interfered in the polling process. I think this is a moral victory for us and a defeat for the state government and the state ruling party,” he added.