Thursday, July 25, 2024

West Bengal Panchayat Polls to get Central Force Deployment by the Orders of Calcutta High Court 

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The Calcutta High Court ordered the deployment of Central Paramilitary Forces in West Bengal during the upcoming Panchayat Polls on July 8. The Calcutta HC orders included all the districts of West Bengal instead of the 7 districts listed by the state government. Furthermore, the court directed the State Election Commission to request the central government to augment any additional requirement of forces.

West Bengal Panchayat Polls: Calcutta High Court refuses to extend deadline for filing nominations; orders deployment of central forces
PC Bar and Bench

CM Mamata Banerjee’s government opposes this deployment of central forces in West Bengal. The state government wanted to alternatively use state police forces from other opposition-ruled states. The state government implied that fair elections can only be ensured by using forces that are not directly under the BJP government’s rule.

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The Unfolding Drama Regarding West Bengal Panchayat Polls

The TMC ruled state of West Bengal gave a 15 days notice for receipt of applications for Panchayat Polls. The BJP nominees cry foul at the abruptness of the decision and the shortness of the application period. The BJP, which is in opposition in West Bengal, also alleges that the TMC workers are pressuring applicants to withdraw nominations. Moreover, the BJP workers state that they face threats of violence and injury from the ruling TMC’s loyalists.

Bengal violence: Put request for central forces within 48 hrs, orders HC as poll panel dithers | India News,The Indian Express
PC The Indian Express

There have been a number of unexplained murders and violence against BJP associates in West Bengal. CM Mamata holds a very blasé attitude towards these instances. Another example of CM Mamata’s tyranny was when she refused to allow Home Minister Amit Shah entry into the state. The TMC government has in the past also denied access to the region to all central forces. The state police also diligently support these actions and the alleged violence of the TMC party workers. Thus, the upcoming panchayat polls’ are a pre-game to the battle royale of the 2024 general elections.

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State of West Bengal Vs Calcutta High Court

Bengal Panchayat Polls: Citing present and past violence, HC orders deployment of central forces | Kolkata News, The Indian Express
PC The Indian Express

The infamous belligerency of the TMC government was aptly showcased in their face-off with the Calcutta High Court. The division bench of Chief Justice Sivagnaman and Justice Uday Kumar came down heavily on the State Election Commission (SEC).

The bench was upset at the attitude of the SEC for their inability to identify sensitive areas as per the court’s earlier orders. The earlier order stated that the SEC should deploy central forces during the elections in selected areas.

In response to the unhappiness displayed with the HC order, the chief justice warned the SEC to follow the due procedure to enforce the court orders even while they appealed it in a higher court of law. Furthermore, the division bench warned the SEC of severe consequences for non-compliance with the court directive. The chief justice also warned the SEC about generating circumstances for non-implementation of the HC order.

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The BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s counsel presented the 2021 post-poll violence report by National Human Rights Commission before the HC. They requested urgent action by the court to ensure fair elections. Furthermore, the BJP counsel stated that the Politico-Bureaucratic Nexus noted by the report in the state of West Bengal was undermining the democratic process of elections. 

The West Bengal government’s attitude in the court displayed their severe bias against BJP and the central government. The state’s counsel, before the HC’s division bench, argued the lack of public faith in central forces to oppose the HC’s verdict.

Conclusion

The love of power and the thirst for the right to govern the state of West Bengal is clearly visible in the actions of the state government. Their opposition to anything BJP is also highlighted by their expression of lack of faith in central agencies of power. Moreover, the TMC also underscores their shaky hold on the seat of power by using underhand tactics like the alleged threats, increased violence against BJP workers, and only use of the opposition-ruled state’s police force. The upcoming Panchayat polls in West Bengal shall be a minor skirmish in the battle for control of the state. The 2024 general elections shall be the final battleground for a match of the titans in West Bengal.

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