Election Commission has written to West Bengal Home secretary to ensure that no poll-related violence takes place during upcoming Assembly election as law and order is a “state subject”.
“To conduct the polls smoothly is definitely the responsibility of the Election Commission, but to maintain law and order in the state is a state subject and the state has to look into it even at the time of the polling,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar said today.
The chief electoral officer has written to the home secretary to take measures to ensure that no clashes take place during campaigns so that the situation in the state does not go out of hand, he said.
The missive was sent a day after West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee targeted EC saying law and order is now under the poll panel and eight party workers had been killed in the last one week.
In it the EC reiterated that as the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the state is vested with the state government and all necessary steps should be immediately taken to maintain “appropriate ambience” for smooth, free and lawful campaigning by political parties and for free exercise of individual rights to vote, Sarkar said.
“We have sent the TMC complaint to the home secretary and directed him to treat such complaints by political parties with the required importance and ensure that no poll-related violence or killings take place in the state,” he added.
The Commission has also sought report from the respective districts regarding two deaths mentioned in TMC’s deputation regarding violence during poll campaigns, Sarkar said.
Talking about the timings for phase 1A pollings (on April 4) of the elections in the state, Sarkar said voting in 13 out of 18 constituencies in Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura districts would be from 7am to 4pm, while for the five others it would be a 7am to 6pm affair.
For the phase B polls scheduled on April 17, polling would be conducted from 7am to 6pm in north Bengal, while it would be a 7 am- 4 pm one in seven constituencies in Birbhum district.
“Such timings have been scheduled mainly for Left-Wing Extremism -affected areas,” he added.