Civic volunteers, ration dealers not permitted to contest Bengal panchayat polls

Insight Online News

Kolkata, April 14 : The West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) has barred certain sections of professionals from contesting the forthcoming polls for three-tier panchayat system in the state. The prominent among them include the civic volunteers and ration dealers.

Although civic volunteers are contractual staff unlike regular policemen, sources said they have purposely been kept in the list of professionals not permitted to contest to avoid any controversy on this count in the future.

Similarly, other contractual staff with the state government, namely education associates, panchayat tax collectors and contractual Group D staff are also not allowed to contest the rural civic body polls.

Although there is no bar on the government contractors to contest in the polls, the state election commission has imposed certain conditions for them on this count.

The first condition is that before filing the nomination the contractor concerned will have to withdraw himself from any government contract which he or she has bagged. In case, the work is in progress for a particular job contract, the contractor concerned will have to complete the work before becoming a candidate in the rural civic body polls.

However, the opposition parties have questioned how far these restrictions will actually be fruitful, since there will be no bar on spouse or close family members of such professionals like civic volunteers, government contractors and ration dealers among others from contesting the polls.

The opposition parties have alleged that the guidelines of the state election commission have been carefully drafted in such a manner that the contractors close to ruling Trinamool Congress can somehow remain associated in the poll-fray either directly or indirectly through their family members.

The Trinamool Congress leaders have, however, rubbished such allegations.


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