BJP defeats Cong, CPI(M) for 2nd spot in nomination filing

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"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is killing democracy in West Bengal and setting fire on its pyre". The polling was postponed following opposition parties move to approach courts alleging violence and intimidation by the ruling Trinamool Congress party during the nomination process.

"The state government asked the SEC unilaterally to hold polls on May 14, and it has obliged".

About 5.08 crore people - almost 74% of the State's voters - are eligible to exercise their franchise for the three-tier panchayat elections across 20 districts of the State. The term of the existing elected bodies ends in August; the State government was keen to hold the polls before the onset of the holy Islamic month of Ramzan.

He said in West Bengal everybody, including former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, is demanding Article 356 be imposed in the state in the wake of incidents of violence.

The Calcutta High Court had on April 20 directed the SEC to reschedule the dates for the panchayat polls.

"The present scenario shows that people's doubts about security in the election are not unfounded". "The plan is to ensure that TMC goons take charge of the booths to fulfill the ruling party's aim of "Oppositionless" panchayat".

Left Front chairman and senior CPI-M leader Biman Bose also pulled up the SEC for not talking to representatives of political parties before announcing the polling date. This will only result in there being not a single opposition party among the elected representatives in the state.

"It seems they want a blood-splattered polling day".

There are over 50.8 million voters, and votes are to be cast in 58,467 booths.

Democratic space in the state is shrinking and the Mamata government is trampling on democracy, it alleged.

Even as the SEC withdrew the order hours after circulating it the High Court directed it to give an additional day for filing nomination on= May 23.

When the BJP counsel had asked the judge, Justice Subrata Talukdar, to postpone the election again as the election commission refused to consult them, Justice Talukdar told the BJP counsel that if the other two opposition parties could visit the commission, why the saffron party could not. "She instructed all the SPs, BDOs and DMs not to intervene, so the police kept mum", he said.