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19 Apr 2018

HC extends stay on Panchayat poll process

HC extends stay on Panchayat poll processMP, 19 April 2018, Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday further extended its stay on the Panchayat poll process by another day. A single-judge bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar will hear the arguments again on Thursday.
Trinamool Congress vice-president Kalyan Banerjee, who is representing the party in the court, claimed that there are only allegations of violence and molestation, which have not been substantiated with evidence. He further said that there have only been five or six police complaints across the state and such a huge election process cannot be stalled on the basis of that.
During the proceedings, Justice Talukdar had pointed out that under the Article 46(2) of the state Panchayat Act, the court can interfere in the poll process. He also indicated that the state Election Commission (SEC) has done nothing wrong in extending the date of the nominations by a day.
It may be mentioned that the SEC had, however, revoked its order of extension of nomination dates in less than 12 hours. CPI(M) counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that the SEC had recalled its order extending the date of nomination, on the dictation of the state government and had acted as a "stooge" of the ruling party in doing so.
The Panchayat elections in Bengal are scheduled to be held in three phases from May 1 to May 5 and the counting of votes is scheduled on May 8. However, with the matter still pending before the court, there is every possibility that the polls may be deferred.

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