Allís well that ends well: CM

A

EXPRESSING satisfaction that the people of rural Bengal will finally be able to vote, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today welcomed the order of the Calcutta High Court on panchayat polls.

The high court has refused to accept the state election commission's plea for 800 companies of central armed police force for holding the panchayat poll and directed that the state may requisition them from other states or the Centre if there was any shortfall.

"We are very happy. Now people in rural Bengal would be able to vote in the three-tier panchayat system," said Mamata

She said she had been trying to hold the panchayat election since long. "The panchayat election could have been held much earlier. We have been trying to hold it since last September. Then I wanted it in December. Our officers, including the chief secretary, held meeting with the state election commission at least 15 to 20 times . But we were not allowed to conduct the elections. We also tried to conduct the election in April, but that too did not happen."

Mamata also criticised the Opposition parties for putting obstacles in holding the polls.

"Political parties like the CPM, Congress and the BJP went to court. We never went to the court. But the obstacles have now been removed with the Calcutta High Court order. The state had already passed a bill to provide for 50 per cent reservation at all levels of the three-tier panchayat system," she said.

The Chief Minister termed the court verdict as " All's well that ends well".

She assured the polls will be held in a " free and fair manner".

Conspiracy failed, says Subrata

State Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee termed the court order as "historic" and "victory of the state government". He said the state government will now finalise the panchayat poll schedule according to the court's order." A deep-rooted conspiracy was on to disrupt the panchayat poll by the CPM, Congress and the BJP in association with the state election commission. The court order has cleared it all," said Mukherjee.

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