Want peaceful conduction of panchayat poll: Mamata Banerjee

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Bengal's panchayat election schedule continued to hang fire as the State Election Commission, wary after a Calcutta High Court directive stressing the need for "application of mind" while arranging for poll-day security, refused to heed the state government's "suggestions" for a two-day poll. Any re-poll, if needed, will be held on May 16.

The SEC secretary, however, evaded a question on how will the state police be able to provide security if the election is held in a single phase in 58,467 polling booths spread across the state.

Without taking any opposition party's name, she had alleged political outfits to bring people from other states in the panchayat poll. Ramzan starts in mid-May and we can not impose an election on a section of the society during this fasting period.

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The West Bengal government and the TMC had objected to the nomination date extension by the SEC, which had cited a Supreme Court direction to "allay the apprehensions of aspiring candidates" in its notification which had extended the nomination deadline by a day.

CPI-M leader Rabin Deb who also filed petition in the Calcutta High Court accusing the Trinamool of not letting their prospective candidates to file nomination papers, said the election battle has become tougher as the the ruling party is resorting to violence against the opposition even before the election has started.

BJP workers affected in pre-panchayat poll violence in West Bengal outside the residence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday.

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Justice Talukdar asked Banerjee to file a separate petition, if he wished to, regarding this, and added that the court would then take up the matter. There are around 58,000 polling booths.

Accusing the ruling Trinamool of vitiating the Panchayat system fashioned by the erstwhile Left Front regime, Bhattacharjee said its activists have robbed the people of their rights and indulged in corruption.

Asked about the reason behind the TMC filing more nominations than the number of seats in all the three segments, a senior party leader said, "There are many aspirants for the party tickets so many people have filed nominations". There has been continuous attacks on the opposition parties.

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"We discussed what happened during the clash that took place during filing of nominations for Panchayat polls".