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SC Refuses To Interfere In West Bengal Panchayat Polls, Rejects BJP's Plea

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| April 9 , 2018 , 13:56 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to extend the last date for filing nominations of the West Bengal panchayat polls. The court said that it cannot interfere with the election processes, in a setback for BJP's state unit which was seeking the top court’s intervention in the elections.

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre said, "We are not interfering in the matter. But we give liberty to all candidates to approach the state election commission."

The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party had approached the apex court seeking the deployment of paramilitary forces alleging that its candidates were being blocked from filing their nomination papers by the Block Development Officers (BDOs) and were being targeted by the state's ruling Trinamool Congress.

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Panchayat elections in the state are scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5 and April 9 is the last date for filing of the nominations. The polls are very important for the Trinamool and opposition BJP and Congress ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Counting of votes will take place on May 8.

Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on the BJP’s request to direct the West Bengal election commissioner to accept online nomination papers for the state’s panchayat polls.

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The West Bengal government on its part deflected allegations of violence in the court saying, the party should first approach the Election Commission with their problems.

According to police, poll-related violence has claimed two lives in Malda and Bankura districts so far since the beginning of the filing of nominations on April 2.