SEC sets the ball rolling
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The State Election Commission (SEC) on Wednesday issued a parallel notification for the five-phase panchayat polls — July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25. With this the model code of conduct came into force in the state. The state government had issued a similar notification on Tuesday evening. The district magistrates will start issuing notification for their respective districts from Thursday.
The SEC has fixed the polling time from 7 am to 5 pm, and declined the suggestion of the Left Front to reschedule it to 6am-4pm. The timing for campaigning with loudspeaker has been fixed from 6 am to 10 pm, an SEC official said.
For the next three days, State Election Commissioner Meera Pandey will hold several meetings beginning with the Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, DGP Naparajit Mukherjee and IG (law and order) on Thursday afternoon to discuss poll preparedness. "The meeting will discuss various security issues. Reports have been sought from the SPs of some districts from where complaints against certain officers-in-charge of police stations have been received by the commission," said the official. During the meetings, the SEC will also try to finalise the number of armed forces to be deployed inside and outside the booths.
On Friday, Pandey will hold meeting with the DMs and on Saturday, she has called the all-party meeting which was cancelled earlier in the wake of the state government moving a review petition in the Supreme Court.