Bengal may approach SC to seek panchayat polls before Ramzan

Bengal may approach SC to seek panchayat polls before RamzanKolkata, 29 June : With the West Bengal panchayat polls slated to be held during Ramzan, the ruling Trinamool Congress said Saturday it might approach the Supreme Court to conclude the exercise before the Muslim holy month, which begins in the second week of July.

"With the polls slated to be conducted during the month of Ramzan, we are planning to appeal before the Supreme Court seeking an order for the conclusion of the elections before the holy month sets it," Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee said here.

Banerjee who appeared as a counsel for the Bengal government in the legal battle against State Election Commission (SEC) over the panchayat polls, said if the polls were conducted during Ramzan, it would inconvenience the Muslim population of the state.

"We always wanted the panchayat polls to be concluded before Ramzan sets in, but because of the SEC, all our efforts have gone in vain," state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said.

An apex court bench of Justice A. K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi Friday directed the panchayat elections be held July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25. The polls were earlier scheduled to be held in three phases from July 2.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also expressed her discontent with the court ordering the polls be held during the Ramzan.

"Elections during the Ramzan month will pose problem for the people of the minority community. We did not want it. But sometimes, we have to accept under compulsion when there is a court order," Banerjee had said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Left Front and Congress blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for the elections in the holy month.

"We have been repeatedly asking the government to ensure the polls are not held during Ramzan, but it chose not to pay heed to our requests. They should have raised the matter before the Supreme Court, but inexplicably they did not," Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said.

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya echoed Mishra's views and blamed the Banerjee regime.(IANS)

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