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West Bengal Election Commission Moves Supreme Court Over HC Order On Deployment Of Central Forces

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to requisition and deploy central forces across West Bengal for the July 8 panchayat elections in the state.

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West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2023
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The West Bengal government and the State Election Commission on Saturday jointly moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court order regarding deployment of central forces during panchayat polls in the state.

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the State Election Commission to requisition and deploy central forces across West Bengal for the July 8 panchayat elections in the state, in which more than five crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise to elect nearly 74,000 candidates in zilla parishads, panchayat samitis and gram panchayats.

Violence ahead of polls

The state has been witnessing violence between political workers which on Friday left two dead and several injured of whom one died in a hospital in the morning.

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The semi-rural area of Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district, was also the scene of political clashes earlier between Indian Secular Front (ISF) a party floated by a Muslim cleric and the ruling TMC. 

Violence had also marred the nomination filing process on Thursday in several other districts in clashes between political parties. In all five people died as a result of the violence.

The court on Thursday noted that no appreciable steps have been taken ever since an order was passed by it on June 13 to deploy central forces in sensitive areas for the poll process.

Petitioners had prayed for the deployment of central forces for ensuring peaceful elections, claiming that the state had witnessed large-scale violence during municipal elections in 2022 and Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections in 2021.

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Opposition parties have been alleging that the ruling Trinamool Congress supporters resorted to violence to prevent their candidates from filing nomination papers. The state however claimed before the court that till Wednesday, more opposition candidates filed nominations than those of the ruling party.

Governor Dr CV Ananda Bose paid a visit to the state on Friday and said that measures must be taken end political violence and assured that "perpetrators would be permanently silenced" and “brought to book.”  

Today, he summoned the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Rajiva Sinha to Raj Bhavan to brief him about the situation, an official said.     

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