If we come to power, we’ll conduct polls in one phase: BJP Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh

The Election Commission has announced an eight-phase Assembly poll for West Bengal.

West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh on Saturday said that if his party comes to power in the state, they would schedule elections in a single phase. He was speaking at one of the BJP’s “Paribartan Yatra” in Balurghat in West Bengal’s Dakshin Dinajpur district. “We’ll conduct polls in a single phase. It is a matter of honour,” Ghosh said.

On Friday, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced an eight-phase election for West Bengal, prompting Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to allege that the list released was “as per the BJP’s requisition”.

While Ghosh said that it was a matter of pride and honour for the state, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee too had said the same yesterday, adding that the people of Bengal would give a “fitting reply” to the “insult”. Reacting to Dilip Ghosh’s comment today, Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy said, sarcastically, “I think Dilip-babu is not acquainted with the procedure. The BJP does not decide how many phases the elections will be held. The Election Commission decides that.”

The EC on Friday announced election dates for five states – Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and West Bengal. Only Bengal has an eight-phase election, and Assam has a three-phase election. The three other states have a single phase election.

After the EC’s announcement, Mamata Banerjee had said: “Elections in Bihar – where there are 240 seats – was held in three phases last year, Assam is having three-phase election this time, even Tamil Nadu which has 234 seats and the CPI(M) government in Kerala that has 140 seats will have election on a single day. But West Bengal will have election in eight phases, for whose benefit has it been arranged this way? Can the Election Commission be a bit rational?” In fact, she had also hinted that the eight-phase election had been scheduled to benefit the BJP.