Parties welcome SC verdict on Bengal panchayat polls

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Kolkata, June 28: Welcoming the Supreme Court's order directing a five-phase panchayat polls in West Bengal starting July 11, political parties here Friday said the verdict has foiled the ruling Trinamool Congress' bid to disrupt the polls.

"Hopefully the state government will now learn its lessons and strive to perform its constitutional obligation to conduct the panchayat polls. We sincerely hope the stakeholders now will arrive at an unanimity and conduct the elections," said Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Surjya Kanta Mishra.

An apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi Friday directed a five phase rural polls to be held on July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25 and asked Mamata Banerjee-led state government to ensure 35,000 security personnel for each phase of the polls.

The decision came after the SEC moved the apex court Wednesday seeking adequate security forces for the rural polls.

"The state government would have escaped the embarrassment had it been more prudent and the chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) and her ministers would have been ready to hear what the other parties had to say," said CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim said.

Describing the apex court's verdict as historic, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said: "The verdict has come as a warning to the state government which was desperate to disrupt the polls. Justice has prevailed".

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Rahul Sinha said "the verdict has removed the constitutional crisis which the Trinamool government had created by trying to disrupt the polls".

Samajwadi Party general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda too hailed the verdict and described it as "triumph of justice over evil".

State Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, however, refused to comment. "We cannot comment before discussing the issue with the SEC.

SEC counsel Samaraditya Pal described the verdict as a "triumph of the constitution" and said the panel's stand has been vindicated.

The Calcutta High Court which earlier was hearing the case had expressed its happiness after the SEC moved the apex court.

"Entire India is looking at the case and I am happy that it has gone to the Supreme Court. At least there will be a verdict now. I am fed up with the case. This is an unholy battle," the bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi had remarked.

IANS

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