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Calcutta High Court likely to decide fate of Bengal panchayat poll today

Calcutta High Court likely to decide fate of Bengal panchayat poll today

Noting that it was not unmindful of the expiry of the present panchayat in August and the necessity of completing the process by then, a division bench said that it, however, does not want to interfere in an "intra-court matter" at this stage and directed that the petitions be heard before the single bench.

BJP workers in Kolkata ahead of panchayat polls. The single bench will hear the case from tomorrow.

TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee, who had moved the petition to the division bench on behalf of his party, confirmed the same.

Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Sunday decried the violence centred around submission of nominations for the upcoming West Bengal panchayat elections, saying it was doubtful if the Trinamool Congress government could hold peaceful polls. The BJP, on whose petition Justice Talukdar stayed the election process, welcomed the order. The appeal in Division Bench has been discarded by the court. "Never before the Opposition parties in the state have faced such a situation where they were not allowed to file nominations by the ruling party".

Though the state BJP moved Supreme Court, the apex court referred the case to the Calcutta High Court last week. It has repeatedly asked Kalyan Banerjee why they were not going to the single bench.

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Iterating that in a democracy, every election down to the municipality of panchayat level should be held peacefully, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader expressed doubts over whether the state government had the capability to conduct a violence-free poll.

Justice Talukdar today extended the stay till the next hearing, which he fixed for tomorrow at 2 pm in view of the appeal being heard by the division bench.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, who participated in the protest, said the votes will be a farce without central forces.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of the issue, a report on facts of the case has been called along with written reply from the government of West Bengal through Chief Secretary, Secretary (Home), Director General of Police and Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, the release said.

The poll will take place in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5. On Monday, the single judge bench extended the stay by a day.


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