Trinamool rejects three-phase panchayat polls

Kolkata, Jan 21 (IANS) West Bengal's Trinamool Congress government Monday turned down opposition Left Front's demand for conducting the upcoming panchayat elections in three phases instead of a single phase.

Turning down the demand, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim contended that during the Left Front regime, panchayat polls had never been conducted in two or three phases.

"Panchayat elections have never been conducted in two or three phases. So why they are demanding that?" Hakim said.

Citing political threats to its candidates, the Left Front said panchayat polls should be conducted in three phases instead of a single phase.

"Going by media reports and other information, the election commission 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.

"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, who is also Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary.

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

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