Kolkata: The State Election Commission (SEC) is yet to take a decision on the dates for the panchayat polls in West Bengal as the issues of security arrangements and concluding the election either before or during the month of Ramzan remain to be settled. According to official sources, the SEC and state government officials are likely to meet on Thursday afternoon to discuss the matter.
Apart from the security arrangements in the over 58,000 polling booths, the issue of whether to conduct the election during the month of Ramzan also needed to be discussed, the sources said. Asked when the new dates would be announced, a senior SEC official said, "It is a million dollar question. Let us discuss the matter and hope that everything will be sorted out."
The representatives of various Muslim organisations today met the SEC officials and urged the poll panel not to hold the panchayat election during the month of Ramzan, which is scheduled to start from 16-17 May. The entire election process should end before 16-17 May as during the month of Ramzan, after an entire day of fasting, Muslims could find it difficult to take part in the voting process and that too, in such hot and humid conditions, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, general secretary of the All Bengal Minorities Youth Federation, said.
The imams of various mosques of Kolkata also met the SEC officials with a similar demand.
Incidentally, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership had, during its meeting with the SEC officials last week, said their main concern was that the panchayat polls were not held during the month of Ramzan or the monsoon.
According to the West Bengal Panchayat Act, 2003, there has to be a gap of at least 21 days between the last date for filing of nominations and the date of polling. According to this rule, the election cannot be held before 14 May.
The panchayat polls were earlier scheduled to be held on 1, 3 and 5 May. However, following a Calcutta High Court order, the SEC had announced 23 April as the extended date for nomination-filing for the three-tier rural election.
Updated Date: Apr 25, 2018 22:18 PM