SC postpones West Bengal panchayat polls

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PANDEYNew Delhi, June 28:The Supreme Court on Friday rescheduled the dates of West Bengal panchayat elections and directed the State Election Commission to conduct the exercise in five phases starting July 11.

A bench of justices A.K. Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi directed that the election will be held on July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25. The poll was earlier scheduled to be held in three phases from July 2.

The apex court directed the state government to provide on an average 35,000 security personnel for each phase of the election and the rest of the requirement of security forces will be provided by the Centre.

“We have now rescheduled the election from July 11 to 25 to be held in five phases,” the bench said adding that “all other consequential notifications are to be done by the concerned authorities as per the order.”

The court passed the order on a petition filed by the state election commission which had approached the apex court seeking its direction to the state and the Centre to provide adequate security personnel for the election.

The election body contended it was not possible to hold violence-free polls in the prevailing circumstances as enough security personnel were not available.

The Supreme Court had on June 26 issued notices to the Centre and West Bengal government seeking their responses to how to meet the requirement of security personnel for conduct of the panchayat elections in the state.

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