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Amid concerns over 'free and fair' polls in West Bengal, EC calls all-party meeting on Friday

Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain will arrive in Kolkata on March 15.

Amid concerns over 'free and fair' polls in West Bengal, EC calls all-party meeting on Friday

Kolkata: Amidst concerns expressed by the opposition parties over ''free and fair polls'' in West Bengal, the Election Commission has called an all-party meeting in Kolkata on Friday.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal, Sanjay Basu told reporters that Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain will arrive in Kolkata on March 15 to conduct a monitoring meeting with all political parties of the state.

 

According to Basu, the DEC will also hold parleys with the District Election Officers (DEOs), Superintendents of Police and others and review preparations for holding elections here.

Ahead of this, West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab will have a meeting via video-conference with all the DEOs on March 15.

"After the `cVigil` app became operational on Tuesday, we have received 183 complaints out of which 56 have been dropped. As many as 48 complaints have been forwarded for investigation," Basu said.

Meanwhile, the poll panel has also directed the authorities to remove all propaganda materials like banners and hoardings from across the state. 

The poll panel officials have so far removed around 8,500 out of nearly 10,000 hoardings all around the state. 

It may be recalled that the opposition parties including BJP have raised serious doubts over conducting ''free and fair polls'' in the West Bengal, stating that they don't trust the state police since it works on the behest of the ruling Trinamool Congress government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. 

A BJP delegation had in the past also met the EC to complain against the ruling Trinamool Congress-led government claiming that they are barring the saffron party from holding poll-related activities.

They had also urged the EC then to remove state government officers who they alleged are acting as agents of the TMC and to deploy central armed forces so that the election is held in a free and fair manner. 

The BJP had also alleged that central government officers in the state are being threatened and detained and rallies of the BJP were being repeatedly denied permission.

Voting for Lok Sabha election in West Bengal will be held in all seven phases, beginning April 11 and concluding on May 19. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.