Published On: Sat, Jun 17th, 2023

Bengal govt moves SC against deployment of central forces for panchayat polls

New Delhi: Political slugfest erupted in West Bengal as the State Election Commission and the state government, on Saturday, approached the Supreme Court against Calcutta High Court`s order for deployment of central armed forces throughout the state for the forthcoming panchayat elections.

SEC Rajiva Sinha had said that he will abide by the Calcutta High Court`s order

Approaching the apex court in this matter is a U-turn from the SEC`s earlier stand of abiding by the order of the Calcutta High Court. Late Thursday evening only, SEC Rajiva Sinha had said that he will abide by the Calcutta High Court`s order.

Reacting to the development, the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari said that move by the state government and the SEC was planned well in advance and hence he too had filed a caveat at the apex court soon after the Calcutta High Court passed its order.

The state Congress president in West Bengal and veteran party Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said probably on Thursday Rajiva Sinha had said that he will abide by the order of the Calcutta High Court because no clear instruction from the chief minister`s office came to him by then.

“Now with the instructions coming, he has taken a U-turn. The Calcutta High Court`s order has accepted the arguments of the opposition parties and hence the state government and SEC are approaching the apex court to stall deployment of armed forces,” Chowdhury said.

Like Adhikari, Congress Lok Sabha member from Malda (South) Abu Hasem Chowdhury had filed a caveat at the Supreme Court on the same matter.

CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said that the office of the state election commissioner is just “acting as an extended arm of the state secretariat”.

“Instead of taking independent decisions, Rajiva Sinha is acting as per the whims of the state government and the ruling party,” he said.

Till the time the report was filed, there was no official version from Trinamool Congress. However, a senior member of the state cabinet said on condition of anonymity, that as per norms, the SEC should work in coordination with the state government with the latter updating the commission of the available security system.

“In this case, the Calcutta High Court gave direct instruction to the SEC to deploy central forces bypassing the state government. Probably that is why the commission and the state government have approached the Supreme Court,” he said.

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