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BJP wants deferment of election dates in Bengal

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Mar 2: Taking a complete '' U'' turn, the West Bengal BJP today demanded postponment of the five elections dates in the state by two to three weeks to get more time for electioneering.

Incidentally, the party welcomed the Election Commission's announcement yesterday for a five-phase poll in the state from April 17 to May eight.

Announcing the party's demand in presence of BJP National Vice-President and Central Party observer for the State Babulal Marandi, State BJP president Tathagata Roy said they would soon write a letter to the Election Commission, formally requesting the latter to allow them some time for campaign.

'' Since this is also the desire of most of the Opposition parties, they might also make similar request to the EC, '' Mr Roy said but refused to specify the proposed new dates.

About the delay in announcing the list of party candidates for the coming polls, Mr Roy agreed that they were ''behind schedule''. '' Our talks with alliance partner Trinamool Congress is still on and hope to finalise the names of candidates by next week, '' he said.

Asked about the number of candidates they would settle, both Mr Marandi and Mr Roy said it would be decided ''amicably and through mutual respect''.

Earlier on his arrival in the city for the first time since his appointment as the second Central Observer of the party after Mr Arun Jaitley, Mr Marandi lambasted the ruling Left Front for allegedly failing to ensure a considerable socio-economic progress of the State despite remaining in the saddle for nearly three decades now.

In terms of both infrastructural facilities and employment generation the State was still lagging far behind than most of the other states, Mr Mrandi, also former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, said adding even people from his state were now going in a large number to Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for jobs instead of coming to neighbouring West Bengal.

About the Election Commission's ban on wall grafitti, the BJP leaders refused to make any comment but at the same time demanded that it should be implemented impartially all across the state.

'' However, we have every doubt whether the ruling parties would actually abide by it, '' they opined.

Meanmwhile, the State BJP had planned to hold a major rally in the city on March eleven to formally kick off its election campaign, likely to be attended by party president Rajnath Singh, Mr L K Advani, Mr Yaswant Sinha and Mr Arun Jaitley among others.


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