The Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court will hear a petition on Friday from the West Bengal Election Commission which states the Mamata Banerjee government has not provided enough security forces for the state polls scheduled for July. The SC will apprise the government's capability to provide the security that is needed.
With the legal imbroglio over the panchayat elections in West Bengal moving to the SC, Mamata hit out at the state EC and the Opposition for demanding deployment of central forces in a local election. "So many (panchayat elections) were held in 2001, 2003 and 2008. From when were central forces deployed in such elections?" Mamata asked at an election meeting in West Midnapore district.
"This is not a general election. Suddenly it struck their minds? There is peace in Bengal and this is not being liked?" she said. Without naming the State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey the chief minister said that she had received an extension during the erstwhile Left Front regime.
"The elections polls will be held peacefully since there is an impartial administration in the state in sharp contrast to the previous Left Front regime," she said. "Panchayat elections will be held and the rights of the rural people cannot be taken away," she said claiming that development work would suffer if the polls were not held and that the CPI(M) and opposition were not interested in them for fear of defeat.
"They are crying hoarse about terror. This is a baseless allegation. There has not been a single untoward incident so far during campaigning unlike during the CPI(M) regime when people were not allowed to cast votes," she alleged. "The CPI(M) will be held responsible if the development work in villages stall in the absence of elected bodies," she said.
She said that already 1.79 lakh nominations had been filed for the elections due to be held from July two. Mata alleged that the CPI(M) had taken recourse to terror and violence and had killed a Trinamool Congress gram panchayat candidate at Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district yesterday.
"Some of our party-men were killed recently. CPI(M) which had unleashed a reign of terror during its 34 years rule is again engaged in violence and killings," The Chief Minister alleged. "There is a mass support behind the Trinamool Congress, that is why they are frightened," she said. "We do not support political killings. 50,000 people were killed during the Left Front tenure." She reiterated her allegation that there was a conspiracy by the CPI(M), Congress Maoists to kill her. "Supari killers are being engaged," she said. She also dared the Maoists to kill her.
"I am not scared of anyone and have come to this position through continuous struggle. I am always with the poor. If anyone wants to kill me, he can. I am not afraid. When I will die, I will die like a hero," she said. Turning to criticism on rising crimes against women and the National Crime Records Bureau which has observed that West Bengal topped the chart in such crimes, she said "It is a report prepared at the behest of Congress without consulting the state government."
Quoting a NCRB report of 2012, she said that according to it crimes against women in West Bengal were just 4.65 per cent, while in Tripura it was 12.77 per cent, Kerala 5.71 per cent, Jharkhand 5.22 per cent, Chhattisgarh 8.41 per cent and Rajasthan 8.41 per cent.
"There have been many incidents of rape and other crimes against women during Left Front rule, including in Keshpur. But during the previous CPI(M) regime no FIR was allowed to be lodged. Today women can do so," she said.
Around 50 percent of over 3.6 million voters cast their ballots Wednesday in the bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka, an official said.
Political leaders cut across party lines on Friday to condemn the gangrape of a photojournalist in Mumbai.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP N Harikrishna has resigned from the Rajya Sabha to protest against the formation of Telangana.
An all-out factional war has broken out between Harshvardhan and Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel, with both vying for the Chief Minister's post if the party comes to power.
It is a crucial day for the Congress in Karnataka as by-polls began in Mandya and Bangalore Rural constituencies on Wednesday.
Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said the platform alone cannot help win elections but gives new options of reaching out to public.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the Centre was neither concerned about the economy nor the falling rupee but only worried about saving its chair.