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Panchayat polls: SC asks Bengal, Centre to explain security cover        

New Delhi, Jun 26 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and the West Bengal government seeking their response on how to meet the requirement of security personnel for the conduct of panchayat elections in the state.

A bench of justices AK Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi passed the order on a petition by the State Election Commission for a direction to the government to provide adequate security personnel for the conduct of the polls scheduled for July 2.

The election body contended that it was not possible to hold violence-free polls in the prevailing circumstances as enough security personnel were not available.

Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the election commission, contended that the poll body was ready to hold the elections in more phases but security forces must be provided to it and even pleaded that the elections can be put off for some time.

She contended that the commission needed around 2,41,000 security personnel out of which 1,40,000 should be armed and rest unarmed.

The state government submitted that it wanted the elections to be held at any cost and said that the Calcutta high court is hearing the matter.