Left Front wants three-phased Bengal panchayat polls

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, Jan 21 (IANS) Citing political threats to its candidates, the Left Front Monday said panchayat polls in West Bengal should be conducted in three phases instead of a single phase.

"Going by media reports and other information, the Election Commission (EC) and the government wants to hold the panchayat polls in a single phase. Going our past experiences and the prevalent conditions, a single phase election is not practically possible," Left Front chairman Biman Bose said here.

"For a peaceful and healthy election, it is imperative that the EC conducts the upcoming panchayat polls in at least three phases, as in the past," said Bose.

He alleged that there were efforts to prevent candidates from contesting against the ruling party Trinamool Congress.

Bose also rubbished talks of holding the polls in Feb.

"While there may be talks to hold the polls in February, considering the lengthy procedures involved for the polls we do not think they will be possible held before April," he said.

Bose also said the Left Front was opposed to the Mamata Banerjee-led state government's decision to discontinue a pension scheme for "victims of politics".

Mamata Banerjee's government had Jan 19 announced the decision to discontinue the scheme.

The original scheme was introduced soon after independence to give financial assistance to freedom fighters. The scheme was funded by the state government. In 1977, the then Left Front government included had political sufferers in the scheme.