‘Helpless’: Govt to tell court on forces

The state government will Tuesday inform the Calcutta High Court that it was quite helpless as far as arranging armed forces of the panchayat elections in accordance with the court order was concerned,

A top source in the state government told The Indian Express: "We will say we will have to be content with what we have with us. The ball is in the central government's court. We asked for forces from them but they had expressed their inability.

"So far as forces from other states are concerned, we wrote to three-four states but none of them got back to us. Now where shall we get the forces from unless the Centre or the states gave us . If the commission goes to the court we will make that submission.''

According to the High Court's order, 1.18 lakh security personnel are needed for the polls but the state has only 55,000 at its disposal. It had asked for 300 companies from the Centre but the latter said it cannot spare the same.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during a media conference at Kamduni in Barasat today, said she cannot meet the demands of the commission.

"The commission wants 1.4 lakh policemen but where do we get them from.'' she said.

Meanwhile, the state government has decided to write to the Centre again, requesting for central forces. "No state government has responded to our request for the forces so far. However, we are going to request the Centre for forces once again,'' told Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra to reporters at Writers' Building.

Mitra, along with Home Secretary Basudev Banerjee, had met state election commissioner Meera Pandey and Governor M K Narayanan today.

Panel says will decide on first phase soon

The State Election Commission Monday indicated that it may not be possible to conduct the panchayat elections if the state government failed to provide adequate armed forces. "We had called the Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary along with the ADG (Law and Order) for a meeting in this regard but they could not tell us how many armed forces they can get from other states or the Centre to fill the deficit for the first phase of the panchayat elections. They could not even inform us if they would be able to provide the necessary forces at all," said State Election Commissioner Meera Pandey.

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