WB governor backs Left call for central forces

As the Left gears up to raise the issue of deploying the central security forces following the widespread violence in the third phase of panchayat polls on Friday, Governor M K Narayanan has supported the call.

The governor, who left for New Delhi on Friday for a routine meeting with officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), told reporters at the city airport that the central forces “should be deployed because it is important to ensure safety and security of the people participating in the elections”.

“Also, it gives a certain sense of confidence. The home minister has been kind enough to send us forces; now it is on us to deploy them. It is the duty of the state government to help the election commission in maintaining law and order,” Narayanan said.

While refraining from commenting on the state government’s role, he agreed that the second phase of polling was not as peaceful as the first.

He also admitted that organising the third phase was the most difficult with the spectre of violence.

Narayanan, who held a meeting with home ministry officials in Delhi over Friday and Saturday, is reported to have discussed the state’s ongoing law and order situation.
Having spent several years at security and counter intelligence agencies, Narayanan was said to have stated in his report that the change in government in West Bengal has not improved the law and order situation.

Sources said that the governor had a prolonged meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior MHA officials over the state’s law and order situation in which he expressed his concerns. He is said to have informed the Centre that the Trinamool Congress is following the CPM in firmly installing itself as a power centre without opposition.

The ruling party, however, refused to comment on the governor’s report. Party’s national general secretary and former Union minister Mukul Roy said: “It’s a serious matter. We can comment only after we know for sure what the governor reported.” He also declined comment on Narayanan’s statement regarding deployment of central forces.

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