The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Curtains on campaign for Sunday showdown

May 9: The bloody campaign period for Sunday’s three-tier panchayat election in 17 districts came to a close this evening peacefully but for stray clashes in South 24-Parganas.

State election commissioner Ajoy Sinha said the panel has made all necessary arrangements to hold a “free and fair election”.

“I appeal to all political parties to co-operate with the state election commission to conduct the panchayat poll smoothly,” he said. Sinha also pleaded the voters to “exercise franchise freely and without fear”.

In all, 1,43,209 candidates are contesting for over 58,357 seats in the election.

Mamata Banerjee took last-minute campaign to a fever pitch at Baruipur and Canning in South 24-Parganas today but the heavyweights in the CPM remained closeted in the party headquarters.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will camp at Writers’ Buildings with chief secretary S.N. Roy, home secretary A.K. Deb and senior officials on the day of polling. Sinha, too, will be in office throughout.

MLA attacked

As if in keeping with the trend of pre-poll violence, Trinamul MLA from Sagar Island Bankim Hazra was attacked by alleged CPM cadre while returning from a rally at Rudranagar in South 24-Parganas .

Police said Hazra’s car was pelted with stones.

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