Opposition parties in Bengal welcome eight-phase elections

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KOLKATA: The opposition parties in West Bengal welcomed the eight-phase elections in the state announced by the Election Commission on Friday with the BJP saying that it was hopeful about the polls being free and fair.
The state Congress said that it was looking forward to an election in 10 to 12 phases, while the CPI(M) maintained that the number of phases does not matter if the elections are held violence-free.
"We are happy. We hope that the elections would be free and fair and the people of the state will be allowed to exercise their democratic right without any fear," BJP's state vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar said.
State Congress leader Manoj Chakraborty said the elections should have been held in at least 10-12 phases, alleging poor law and order situation in the state.
"We have seen how the panchayat polls were held in Bengal. So many people were killed due to violence. We just hope that the Election Commission ensures that polls are held in a free and fair manner," he said.
Senior CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said that instead of increasing the number of phases, efforts should have been made to tighten the security during the elections.
"Just seven or eight phases are not enough. The electorate should be free from any sort of fear or intimidation," he said.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress said that so many phases were unprecedented.
"This is not fair at all. The state has never witnessed such a long-stretched election. Just because the BJP was complaining doesn't mean whatever they were saying was true. We are very unhappy with this eight-phase election," TMC MP and spokesperson Sougata Roy told PTI.
Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases, beginning with polling for 30 seats on March 27. Votes will be counted on May 2.

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