EC announces bypoll in Bhabanipur assembly seat from where WB CM Mamata Banerjee plans to contest
The bypoll to the Bhabanipur assembly seat in West Bengal, from where Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee plans to contest, will be held on September 30, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.
Polling in these seats -- Samserganj and Jangipur in West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha -- could not be held due to various reasons, including the death of candidates during electioneering earlier this year.
Counting of votes in all four seats will take place on October 3. The EC said it has kept ''much stricter'' norms as an abundant caution against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Banerjee had moved out of her traditional seat in Kolkata's Bhabanipur to fight in Nandigram during the Assembly polls earlier this year but lost to his former close aide Suvendu Adhikari who contested on a BJP ticket.
After the election results, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, the TMC MLA from Bhabanipur constituency, vacated the seat to allow Banerjee to contest from there. Banerjee had won from Bhabanipur twice since 2011.
The notification for the Bhabanipur bypoll will be issued on September 6, beginning the nomination process. September 13 is the last date of filing nominations, while scrutiny of papers will take place on September 14. September 16 is the last date to withdraw from the electoral battle.
According to an Election Commission press note, the West Bengal chief secretary had urged that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the state, by-elections for Bhabanipur, from where CM Mamata Banerjee intends to contest elections, may be conducted.
She has to become a member of the state legislature by November 5.
Referring to its decision to hold assembly polls in Samserganj and Jangipur of West Bengal and Pipli of Odisha where elections were earlier deferred, the EC said since candidates and political parties for these three seats have already ''availed'' the campaign period from April 29 to May 3 this year, campaigning will only be allowed from September 20 in these seats.
Prohibition of pre- and post-nomination procession, 50 per cent capacity at outdoor venues for campaigning, a maximum 20 star campaigners for national and state recognised parties and a silence period of 72 hours before the end of polling are some of the COVID-19-related restrictions imposed by the Election Commission for the bypolls.
Based on inputs received from states where bypolls are due, the EC said it has decided not to hold by-elections in 31 other assembly constituencies and three parliamentary constituencies in view of the pandemic situation, floods and festival season.
During a virtual meet on Wednesday, the EC had sought to know from states where bypolls are due about the situation of coronavirus pandemic, floods, law and order scenario and upcoming festivals.
According to the EC, the chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and the Adviser of UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu brought to its notice the constraints related to flood situations, festivals and the pandemic. They suggested that it would be advisable to have by-elections after the end of the festival season.
''Besides these, some states have also brought to the notice of the Commission that Government of India, various research institutions, technical expert committees and professionals have predicted the possibility of third wave of COVID-19 October onwards,'' the poll panel said. The Odisha chief secretary told the EC that the Covid situation is under control and poll can be held. The West Bengal chief secretary informed that the pandemic is fully under control. He also brought to the notice that the flood situation in the state has not affected the poll-bound assembly constituencies and the state is fully geared up to hold the elections. ''He also cited that under Article 164(4) of the Constitution of India, a Minister who is not a member of the Legislature of the State for a period of six consecutive months shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister and there will be a constitutional crisis and vacuum in the top executive posts in the Government unless elections are held immediately,'' the Commission said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)