Mamata's plan for early rural polls hits procedural obstacle

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Kolkata, Aug 24: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's plan to hold the panchayat polls in December this year has hit a procedural obstacle. State panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee had written to the state election commissioner, Mira Pande, on Aug 13 about the government's plan but Pande reportedly raised many points in her reply.

Banerjee had announced at the party's annual Jul 21 rally this year that she was willing to hold the elections after the Pujas.

Sources said the state election commission cited lack of consultation by the state government as the main reason for it opposing the idea of holding the rural polls in December. Rules say dates for the rural polls are decided on the basis of discussion between the state government and the election commission. The commission also said that important tasks like delimitation of seats, caste census and finalisation of electoral rolls could not be finished before December.

Several meetings have been held between pande, state chief secretary Samar Ghosh and panchayat secretary Saurabh Das on the issue but no decision has been taken yet.

The current panchayats will complete their term in May 2013 and Banerjee was eyeing to bring them ahead to negate any anti-incumbency factor prevents her party, the Trinamool Congress, to win a good number of panchayats still siding with the Left Front. However, a source said that the new panchayats will take over the office only after the current ones complete their terms even though the elections are held early.

Sources said processes leading up to the election can not be completed before next February.

OneIndia News

(With inputs from The Telegraph)

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