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West Bengal: SEC to issue fresh dates for panchayat polls today

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday will finalise the dates for Panchayat election in West Bengal, in consultation with the state government because as per the direction of the Calcutta High Court, nominations will also be accepted on Monday and thus the poll dates will have to be at least 21 days after the nomination.

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West Bengal: SEC to issue fresh dates for panchayat polls today
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The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday will finalise the dates for Panchayat election in West Bengal, in consultation with the state government because as per the direction of the Calcutta High Court, nominations will also be accepted on Monday and thus the poll dates will have to be at least 21 days after the nomination.

State election commissioner AK Singh said that Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samity candidates would submit their nominations at the respective BDO offices. Zila Parishad candidates will submit their nominations at the respective SDO offices from 11 am till 3 pm. The nominations received will be scrutinised on May 25 and May 28 is the last day for withdrawal of nominations.

To ensure a peaceful nomination submission process, Singh has issued the instruction to the Director General of Police (DGP), district magistrates and district superintendents of police through a letter. Armed police and RAF personnel at BDO and SDO offices and if need be Section 144 can be imposed.

On Sunday, BJP and CPI(M) leaders had visited the SEC and said that if their candidates are prevented from filing their nominations, they will move court once again.

SEC will meet officials of the state government. Sources said Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Saurav Das would represent the state. The intention would be to complete the election process before May 15, ahead of the month of Ramadan but keeping the stipulated minimum number of 21 days in mind after the nomination ends it will be difficult to complete the election process ahead of Ramadan. If the poll process is conducted in one or two phases there could be issues regarding inadequate armed forces. It would also be discussed at the meeting about how to deal with that issue.

Spats of violence have been reported from districts where filing of nominations was supposed to continue.

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