NEW DELHI: Several opposition parties on Friday questioned the
's decision to hold Bengal assembly election in 8 phases even as the BJP welcomed the move.
wondered if the EC had announced poll dates as per the wishes of PM Modi and Amit Shah, other opposition parties questioned the motives of the poll panel.
"I have information from my sources that the poll dates are similar to the ones that the BJP wanted. Have the dates been announced according to the suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah?" Mamata Banerjee asked at a press conference in Kolkata.
The Left parties alleged that the Election Commission had failed to provide credible justification for conducting eight-phase election in West Bengal.
Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in 8 phases from March 27 to April 29.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury urged the poll panel to explain the reason for stretching stretching the Bengal polls to almost a month while in other states -- Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pudducherry -- it can be wrapped in a single day and in Assam in three phases.
CPI General Secretary D Raja said the Election Commission should have provided "convincing reasons for it”.
CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya in a tweet said, “Five-day test match in Chennai becomes a two-day affair in Ahmedabad. One-day election in Tamil Nadu gets stretched over eight phases in West Bengal. Can any of you explain this numbers game?”
Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan wondered if there were any "nefarious plans".
"If voting for Kerala-140, Tamil Nadu-234 and Puducherry-30 (total 404 seats) can be conducted in a single phase, why Assam-126 and West Bengal-294 (total 420 seats) require 7 & 8 phases? Are there any nefarious plans?" he asked on Twitter.
Congress's national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill too lashed out at the EC as well as the Centre.
"On one hand BJP Govt parrots idea of 'One Nation One Election' and on the other hand EC announces 8 phase election for Bengal which shows vast difference between fictional world of sloganeering & reality of implementation," he said in a tweet.
Another Congress leader, Tariq Anwar, said, "I believe it has been done deliberately and in a way, the EC has tried to help the BJP."
"They (BJP) feel that it will help them, but it will not as far as I know about the people of Bengal. They are revolutionary in nature...they may deviate for some time but ultimately, Bengal is Bengal," he told news agency PTI.
However the Congress state leadership took a different stand, and welcomed the EC's decision.
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.
The BJP, however, welcomed the EC decision for a staggered polls in West Bengal. BJP national secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said it was imperative to ensure a fair election.
"Along with the announcement of elections, anti-social elements will also have to be controlled for peaceful polls in West Bengal. Also, fair officers should be appointed in every district of the state so that there is no disturbance in the election," he said in a tweet.
Union minister and BJP MP from West Bengal Babul Supriyo welcomed the EC's announcement and said it is time for change in the state.
On Twitter, he wrote: "8 phase election in Bengal. I want change, I want BJP in Bengal ... ."
(With inputs from PTI)