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Mira-MK in poll meet

Calcutta, May 24: State election commissioner Mira Pande today met governor M.K. Narayanan and sought his intervention to ensure timely elections to 17 civic bodies, which the government has been accused of trying to delay.

Commission sources said Pande, whose term ends in July, told the governor during the half-hour meeting at Raj Bhavan that the state government had not replied to several reminders by the panel to declare the poll dates.

Raj Bhavan sources said Pande sought Narayanan’s intervention so that the elections could be held before the civic boards’ terms ended on June 28. The government, poll panel sources said, should have started the process of conducting the elections six months ago.

“The governor said he was aware of the situation and had sought details from the municipal affairs department. He said he would get back to the commissioner once the department briefed him,” a commission source said.

Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy said this evening: “The Constitution has specified the roles of everybody…. It is up to the government to decide when to hold civic polls. Nobody else has the jurisdiction to comment on this.”

According to Nabanna sources, the government does not want to hold the elections anytime soon as the BJP had led from many wards of these 17 civic bodies in the Lok Sabha polls and the state’s ruling party needed time to recover lost ground. The BJP does not run any civic board in Bengal.

“The government has no intention of conducting any election in the state before Puja,” a minister said.

A state BJP team led by Bengal unit president Rahul Sinha had met the governor yesterday and requested him to ensure the polls were held on time.

“The state government wants to delay the polls simply to prevent us winning,” Sinha said today.