Kolkata, March 8: Hardening its position on the stand-off with the West Bengal State Election Commission aover the schedule of the upcoming rural body polls, the ruling Trinamool Congress Friday alleged that the poll panel was “exceeding its jurisdiction”.
“The state Election Commission is exceeding its jurisdiction. It is the right of the state government to decide the schedule of the panchayat (rural body) elections in the state as per law,” Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy told reporters in the state assembly premises.
Roy’s strong words came a day after the commission shot off a letter to the state government, pitching for a three-phase poll schedule.
Earlier this week, the state government had written to the poll panel asking for two-phase panchayat polls.
Roy said the commission will be responsible if there is a conflict between it and the state government.
He also countered the commission’s preference for central forces for the smooth conduct of the polls set to be announced soon.
“Since there are no major incidents of law and order violations, there is no need for deployment of paramilitary forces,” Roy said.
Differing with the poll body, the state government has also expressed its desire to hold the elections by deploying only state police personnel.
Both opposition Left Front and Congress have asked for three-phased elections arguing that it was necessary to ensure peace and impartiality.
Reiterating the Left’s stand, Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said: “We have no idea when the panchayat polls will take place or when they will be announced.
“We are only seeing exchange of letters between the commission and the state government. The government is not taking any initiative to solve the stalemate.”
He also criticised Roy for his comment that the panel has crossed its jurisdiction.
“This smacks of arrogance. Such words are not expected from people holding vital posts.”
Senior Congress leader Manas Bhunia urged the government not to be “rigid” on the issue. “It should accept the commission’s proposal for three-phase polls.”