Kolkata, Apr 5 (PTI) The Congress’ West Bengal unit chief Adhir Chowdhury today moved the Calcutta High Court seeking deployment of central forces for three-tier panchayat polls to be held in the state next month.

He also sought the court’s direction to the State Election Commission to take steps for free and fair polls and to ensure that opposition candidates can file their nomination papers peacefully.

The state Congress president appeared before the court in person owing to an ongoing ‘cease work’ strike by lawyers and pleaded for an early hearing as the panchayat election process has already started with nomination papers being filed now.

Chowdhury said he would formally mention the petition before Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya tomorrow.

In his petition, he claimed that the ruling Trinamool Congress workers are perpetrating violence in the state to terrorise terrorise the opposition candidates for the panchayat polls.

The former Union minister also prayed for directions for deployment of central forces to ensure security of both the voters and the candidates during the panchayat elections.

The sitting Lok Sabha MP claimed that opposition candidates are not being allowed to file nominations, the process of which is on at present, and prayed that the time for filing nominations be extended by a few more days.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.