Virtually succumbing to Opposition demand for deployment of central forces in the upcoming Kolkata Municipal Corporation election, the West Bengal government has informed the State Election Commission that it has no objection to such a need.
“Yes, we have received a letter from the state government stating that it has no objection to the proposal of central forces (for the KMC polls),” an official of the West Bengal Election Commission, which supervises the local body and panchayat elections, told PTI today.
Talking about the chances of deployment of forces, now after the state’s nod, he said, “It’s too early to say anything on that. Now it is for the Election Commission to take up the matter with the government of India. But it depends on the Centre regarding the availability of the central forces.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of senior TMC leaders led by Subrata Mukherjee met SEC officials in connection with the civic elections pleading to extend the polling time by two hours from 3 PM to 5 PM.
“Extending time is related to the right of people to vote. We have raised this issue on behalf of the TMC,” Mukherjee said.
The elections to the 144-seat KMC are slated on April 18 while polls to over 90 municipalities across the state would be held on April 25.
These elections are seen as a trial of strength of the major political parties before the state assembly election due in May next year.
Opposition parties in West Bengal have been demanding deployment of central forces for the municipal elections in the state.
“All political parties, other than the Trinamool Congress and NCP, demanded that central forces be deployed for the municipal elections,” West Bengal State Election Commissioner Susanta Ranjan Upadhyay had earlier said after an all-party meeting here on March 15.