Bengal sets up separate poll panel for cooperatives
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To stop alleged malpractices and "usher in transparency" in elections to cooperative societies, the Mamata Banerjee government has set up West Bengal Cooperative Election Commission to conduct elections to the registered cooperatives, most of which are under the control of Left parties.
Elections to 1,100 primary cooperative societies will be held between April and May, to Central Cooperative Banks in September and to the apex level cooperative banks in December, a senior cooperative department official said.
There are about 24,000 registered societies, of which 6,000 are primary agricultural cooperative societies in the state. There are also 17 district central cooperative banks.
Sources said after the Trinamool Congress came to power, complaints of corruption in a number of cooperative banks and societies indirectly controlled by Left parties poured in. Elections to most of these cooperatives, it was alleged, were held in violation of rules during the Left regime.
"The idea behind formation of the commission is to conduct election in a fair way," Cooperation Minister H A Safi said.