Congress party’s West Bengal president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will pray for a directive from the court to the state election commission to make necessary security arrangements so that candidates from opposition parties could file nominations. File photo: Mint
Congress party’s West Bengal president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will pray for a directive from the court to the state election commission to make necessary security arrangements so that candidates from opposition parties could file nominations. File photo: Mint

Bengal panchayat polls: After BJP, Congress seeks judicial intervention to stop vote rigging

Congress party's state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury moved the Calcutta HC seeking deployment of central forces in West Bengal panchayat polls

Kolkata: After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress is seeking judicial intervention to prevent rigging of panchayat polls in West Bengal. The Congress party’s state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday moved the Calcutta high court seeking deployment of central forces for the village council elections to be held in early May.

The BJP has already moved a petition seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court to ensure safety of its candidates. The BJP’s petition is expected to be heard by the apex court on Friday. The BJP moved the Supreme Court directly because the Calcutta high court is currently not functioning properly due to an ongoing lawyers’ strike, which is approaching two months.

But Congress’s Chowdhury said he will personally appear before acting chief justice J. Bhattacharya on Friday and argue his case.

He will pray for a directive from the court to the state election commission to make necessary security arrangements so that candidates from opposition parties could file nominations. All opposition parties in the state have alleged that their candidates were being forcibly stopped from filing nominations by the ruling Trinamool Congress party.

On Thursday, the fourth day of filing nominations, workers of Congress and the Trinamool Congress clashed in Murshidabad district, once Chowdhury’s own bastion, over filing of nominations. In West Bengal, clashes over filing of nominations have been witnessed in almost all recent panchayat elections. Also, in every panchayat election, thousands of seats are won uncontested.

Opposition parties in the state had asked the state election commission to deploy central forces for polling, but the administration declined to bring in forces from outside the state.

On Thursday, Anuj Sharma, additional director general of police (law and order) said security arrangements were being stepped up in some sensitive districts such as Birbhum and Bankura.

Meanwhile, reacting to a BJP allegation that one of its workers Ajit Murmu was killed on Wednesday in Bankura district, Partha Chattopadhyay, a Trinamool Congress leader and a minister in the state, said he was killed due to an internal feud within the BJP. Sukhendu Hira, the superintendent of police of Bankura district, confirmed the death of Murmu, but denied that it had anything to do with filing of nominations.

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