Relief From Court Amid Concern Of Violence In Bengal Panchayat Polls

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Central forces will be deployed for the panchayat polls in Bengal, but there will be no extension of dates for filing nominations, the Calcutta High Court said today, refusing to interfere in the election process.
“The Election Commission is an expert in these matters and the court leaves the matter to the discretion of the commission,” the judges said in response to a series of petitions by opposition parties on extension of the deadline for filing nominations or moving them online and appointment of observers.

Regarding the deployment of central paramilitary forces, the court said the State Election Commission shall assess the situation and deploy central forces in areas not declared sensitive. It should “forthwith requisition of central forces for areas declared as sensitive by the commission”.

CCTV cameras should be installed in all polling stations and left out only where it is not technically possible. In those pockets, it should be video graphed and live streamed, and the footage must be saved, the court said.

The order came on a petition filed by Bengal’s Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari. The Congress had filed two petitions demanding extension of dates for nominations and deployment of central paramilitary forces to ensure peaceful elections.

Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP are going all out for the panchayat polls, with the election being seen as bellwether for next year’s assembly election.

In Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, the police recently resorted to lathicharge and tear gas earlier today. The Opposition parties claimed that they haven’t been able to file nomination due to the violence. The Trinamool has countered the claim in court, saying the BJP has filed the maximum number of nominations.

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