CPI-M, Congress, BJP have allied to scuttle panchayat polls: Mamata

Kolkata, June 26 (IANS) On a day the legal tussle between her government and the State Election Commission (SEC) on holding the rural (panchayat) polls reached the Supreme Court, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday alleged that the CPI-M, Congress and the BJP have joined hands to scuttle the elections.

"These parties fear they will be defeated. They do not want the panchayat polls to be held. The CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Congress and BJP have joined hands. They have hatched a conspiracy to scuttle the polls," Banerjee said at a poll rally at Jamboni in West Midnapore district.

Banerjee said that ever since she came to power two years ago, she had been trying to hold the polls. "But the opposition is going all out to stall the poll process. While I am campaigning day in and out, the opposition is busy filing cases," she said.

"The opposition will have to take the responsibility if the polls are not held as scheduled," she said.

The state government has been locked in a legal tussle with the SEC on ensuring adequate security personnel for the polls, slated to be held July 2, 6 and 9.

The SEC Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, alleging the state government was dragging its feet over providing security forces despite being directed by the Calcutta High Court. The Supreme Court has issued notice to the central and West Bengal governments and posted the matter for hearing June 28.

Deriding local TV channels for criticising her, Banerjee alleged that they were being run by the CPI-M."Some channels are being run by the CPI-M. People who appear in talk shows are paid to participate. They get Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000. They have nothing fruitful to do the whole day. The money they get decides what they will say," Banerjee said.

She recently accused some of those criticising her on talk shows of being involved in pornography.

Banerjee also claimed that Maoists had plotted to kill her, and challenged them to "touch me".

"When I was planning to visit Jungle Mahal (Maoist areas). I was told that Maoists had hatched plans to kill me there."

"Who will murder me? I challenge them. Tell me the time and place where you want to kill me. I will stand alone. This is a democratic government. Guns are not allowed here. They are all cowards. They cannot scare me with guns. I have fought the CPI-M for 34 years," she said.

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