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Election Commission to decide on Darjeeling polls

Special Correspondent

‘No political party has voiced its concern on this issue'

Kolkata: While the Election Commission will decide whether the environment in Darjeeling is conducive for holding elections there, the State did not feel that the prevailing atmosphere there was such that polls could not be held.

The State Government was looking at the February 8 violence at Sipchu village in the Dooars as a law and order problem, Government officials said.

State Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh told reporters at the State Secretariat that no political party has voiced its concern on this issue (on elections). " I am not aware who raised this bogey , but I do not think that there is any such possibility (of elections not being held in Darjeeling)", he replied, when reporters quizzed him whether the situation in the hills was unsuitable for conducting elections there.

"The Election Commission will say whatever they have to on this matter," he said adding that daily reports were being sent to the Centre. "We will furnish the EC with any information that they may seek from us.", he said

Mr Ghosh said that the situation in the hills is being handled with whatever forces are available.

"We have shifted four companies of central forces from Lalgarh. They will be reinstated as and when the situation (in Darjeeling) allows us to do so", Mr Ghosh said .

It may be mentioned here, that the State Government had sought military presence in the hills since last week's violence which has left three dead, but it has not received any favourable response on this matter from the Centre till now.

The army were proposed to be utilised for staging flag marches, the Government had said adding that it was neither pursuing with its request nor withdrawing it.

To a question on whether any meeting have been held with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, some of whose leaders were in city on Monday, Mr Ghosh said that no such meeting has taken place.

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