Mamata vows to take revenge on poll panel 'democratically'

Kolkata, July 6 (IANS) Coming down heavily on the State Election Commission, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday accused the poll panel of taking decisions at its "whims and fancies" and vowed to take revenge against it "democratically".

Banerjee, who was addressing a Trinamool Congress panchayat poll rally at Joynagar in neighbouring South 24 Parganas district, took exception to the elections being scheduled in the month of Ramadan and even on a Friday during the Muslim holy month.

"The polls are being held during Ramadan. Had it been held during the Durga Puja, would we have liked it? Ramadan is equally important for the Muslims. They fast from the morning. How can they vote?" she asked.

Banerjee, the Trinamool chief was particularly aghast over the third leg of the five-phase polls being slated for July 19, a Friday.

"How can they schedule the vote on a Jummabar in the month of Ramadan? They (the poll panel) are not listening to us on any matter. They are doing everything by force," Banerjee said on a day her party boycotted an all-party meeting called by the State Election Commission on the panchayat polls.

Raising her pitch, the chief minister said: "I will take revenge democractically. Do they know how many examinations had to be cancelled? They don't bother to discuss anything. It is only opportunism. They think the Muslims will not vote as it is the month of Ramadan."

Banerjee said her party stayed away from the all-party meeting as the election commission was taking decisions "unilaterally".

"Why should we attend it? They have declared July 29 as the date of counting. But we have to pass the budget by July 31. How can we do it?"

Relations between the Trinamool Congress government and the SEC has nosedived over the past three months over a plethora of issues concerning the polls.

The dispute triggered a bitter legal battle, and finally the Supreme Court announced five-phase polling July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25.

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