Kolkata: Rejecting the State Election Commission's recommendations, West Bengal government stuck to its notification of holding the panchayat poll in two phases next month but effected a change in schedule apparently to keep Congress happy.
    
"The panchayat election will be held in two phases on April 26 and 30 but the poll schedule has been changed," Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee told reporters.
    
Asked whether the state government had bowed to the Commission by rescheduling the polls, he said "you can interpret it in your own way. What we have done is to avoid a confrontation."
    
Mukherjee, who had an hour-long meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said that instead of the earlier schedule, election in six districts -- Malda, Murshidabad, North and South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar would be held simultaneously on April 30.
    
Earlier, Congress strongholds of Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur were scheduled to go to the polls on April 30.
      
Congress had earlier wondered why only Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur had been chosen to have the polls in the second phase on April 30 and not other areas.
    
Election in 11 South Bengal districts would be held in the first phase on April 26.
    
Mukerjee took a dig at the SEC which had written an eleven-page letter to the state government on various aspects of the poll including law and order, said "Ten and half pages of that letter is irrelevant. It was as if written by a school boy."
    
On Election Commissioner Mira Pandey's meeting with Governor M K Narayanan during the day, he said "she has the right. She can go to the President of India. We have done everything according to (West Bengal Panchayat Election) Act, 2003. We also exchanged letters with the Commission several times."

(Agencies)

Latest News from States News Desk