Trinamool stays away from poll panel meeting



Kolkata: Accusing the State Election Commission (SEC) of taking unilateral decisions, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Saturday stayed away from an all-party meeting called by the panel on the upcoming panchayat polls.

"Yesterday (Friday) itself we had faxed her (State Election Commissioner Mira Pande) that we won't attend the meeting. She has been taking unilateral decisions on the polls. Her attitude is discourteous," Trinamool secretary general and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee told the media.

"She fixed June 29 as the date for counting of votes on her own. Had we attended that would have amounted to giving our stamp of approval to the unilateral decisions she has been taking," he added.

Chatterjee, however, said his party was for peaceful polls.

"We appeal to all to ensure peaceful polls," he said.

All opposition parties including the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party attended the meeting that started half an hour late as the Trinamool members did not turn up.

Relations between the Trinamool Congress government and the SEC have nosedived over the past three months over a plethora of issues concerning the panchayat polls. With the two locked in tussles over the right to announce the poll schedule and arrangement for adequate security.

The matters reached the court, and finally the Supreme Court announced five-phase polling July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25.

IANS