Tue, 13 Apr 2021

By Joymala BagchiKolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 26 (ANI): Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sougata Roy has questioned the Election Commission of India's announcement over eight-phased polling for 294 Assembly seats of West Bengal starting from March 27.

Calling the decision "unfair", he asked the poll body if a state like Tamil Nadu can hold an election in one day then why West Bengal needs eight phases.

"I am very unhappy. It is unfair for West Bengal to have elections in eight phases. All activities will come to a standstill for more than a month. All activities including schools, colleges and development works will come to a standstill. If Tamil Nadu can hold elections in one day then why West Bengal need eight phases?" Roy asked while speaking to ANI, immediately after election dates were announced by ECI.

He further questioned if the eight-phased polling for the state has been requested by the BJP.

"We do not know if it (election in eight phases in West Bengal) is on the plea of the ruling party (BJP) at the Centre. Because as far I see there is "no abnormality" in law and order situation in West Bengal," he added.

The ECI has appointed two special police observers -- Vivek Dubey and MK Das -- for West Bengal.

On this decision, Roy said, "That also appears unusual to me, because last time there was only one police observer. Why we need two police observers... it is also not clear, only the Election Commission can explain the logic behind this decision," Roy said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Election Commission's decision to bifurcate the polls into eight phases and alleged that it was being done to suit the convenience of the BJP.Addressing media persons here after the poll dates were announced, Banerjee said, "I request the ECI to consider West Bengal as their own state, not through the eyes of BJP. I respect ECI's decision, but why have they broken-up the districts. South 24 Parganas is our stronghold. Voting will be held in three different phases there. Has it been done for the convenience of PM Modi and Amit Shah?"The ECI on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls (in contrast to seven-phased polling last time). While the voting will begin on March 27, the counting of votes will take place on May 2.

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the state has come into force after the announcement of the election dates.

Moreover, the commission has made adequate arrangements to ensure the effective implementation of MCC guidelines. (ANI)

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