Opposition concerned over free, fair polls in Bengal: Guv

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Kolkata, Nov 22 (PTI) Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan called on Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday, following which the West Bengal governor said that the Congress leader expressed apprehension over the holding of free and fair elections in the state.

The governor said that during the meeting, Mannan stressed that deployment of central forces during the polls should be in neutral hands.

'We discussed the present scenario in West Bengal. He expressed great concern that the government machinery in the state has been totally politicised,' Dhankhar said after Mannan met him at the Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling.

The governor said that they spoke over the 'constant criminalisation of politics' in the state and the effect it may have on the assembly elections, likely to be held in April-May next year.

'The way public servants are functioning as political workers is not a good indication for a democratic system,' Dhankhar said.

For free and fair elections in the state, it is imperative that central forces are brought in adequate numbers and much before the poll dates and their control should be in neutral hands, the governor said.

At the meeting, the two leaders discussed that it should not be that the reins of central forces be in the hands of those public servants who are doubling up as political workers, Dhankhar said.

Apprehension was expressed that such public servants may immobilise the forces and not deploy them where required, he said. PTI AMR SOM SOM