The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that Central Armed Police Force personnel should be deployed for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation election on December 19, PTI reported.
The BJP’s West Bengal President Sukanta Majumdar said that the party fears widespread violence if the voting takes place under the supervision of the state police, going by the experiences of the 2018 panchayat elections and previous civic polls.
“The opposition will not be allowed to campaign and voters will not be allowed to vote,” Majumdar alleged. “Only central forces can prevent such a situation.”
The BJP’s West Bengal chief added that the party has also urged Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to look into the demand, The Indian Express reported. “We had made a deputation to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and told him that a free, fair and peaceful election in West Bengal is not possible with the state police force,” he said.
The party also wrote to the West Bengal State Election Commission, seeking the deployment of Central Armed Police Force personnel for the poll. It said that the state poll panel will be responsible for any untoward incidents during the election.
On Thursday, Dhankhar met State Election Commissioner Sourav Das at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata. The official informed the governor about the steps being taken in preparation for the election.
“Governor indicated [to] SEC that constitutional provisions have overriding effect and be followed,” Dhankhar said on Twitter.
Das told the governor that he will inform him about the deployment of central forces by December 4. The official added that all steps for fair, impartial and free elections “will be diligently taken”, according to Dhankhar.
The Trinamool Congress, however, alleged that Dhankhar was acting beyond his jurisdiction, The Hindu reported. It said that the state election commission is an independent body that has control over all panchayat and civic elections.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that although central forces were deployed during the Assembly elections earlier this year, his party won 217 seats and the BJP won only 70 seats.
Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court is hearing a petition by the BJP demanding that elections to all civic bodies in West Bengal be held on the same day. On December 1, the High Court asked the West Bengal government to state when it will hold elections to the rest of the municipal bodies, Live Law reported.
The case is slated to be heard next on December 6.