Politics News

Bengal Civic Polls: HC Defers Hearing BJP’s Plea on Holding Simultaneous Elections to Nov 29

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday, while going through a plea on holding simultaneous elections to all civic bodies in West Bengal, deferred the hearing for next week on November 29.

Earlier, the HC on November 16 sought response from the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) and the State government based on a petition filed by BJP leader Pratap Banerjee who demanded the conduct of elections for all municipal bodies simultaneously in the State which have been pending for a long time.

The SEC officials told the Court that they are ready to hold the poll in Kolkata and Howrah because the Covid-19 situation is very much under control and conducting phase-wise polling will help them to manage things properly.

“Nearly 85 per cent of people in Kolkata and around 55 per cent of people in Howrah are fully vaccinated against Coronavirus and therefore, we want to hold the civic poll in a phased manner in these two districts,” the SEC told the court.

Though West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has been emboldened by its stunning electoral performances, the BJP is hot on its heels and has demanded that all pending civic polls in the State should be held simultaneously and not selectively as per the convenience of the TMC.

While hearing the matter, a Division Bench of Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj told the SEC, the State government and the petitioner that the matter will be deferred till the next hearing on November 29.

Speaking to News18.com, Pratap Banerjee, in charge of the upcoming Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) election management committee of the BJP, said, “We have full faith in the judiciary and we are hopeful that the court will fulfil our demand.”

“I filed a petition because the SEC based on the suggestion of the State government wanted to hold the poll in phase manner in Howrah and Kolkata on December 19. They told the Calcutta High Court that it wants to hold the municipal polls in multiple phases but we are demanding simultaneous elections to all civic bodies,” Banerjee said.

State BJP leaders see a ploy in this and claim that the TMC’s move has been prompted by the opposition party’s failure to secure a single MLA seat in these three areas and Trinamool wants to take advantage of the favourable political situation.

The SEC is expected to decide on the schedule of the poll dates after the high court passes its order.

Recently, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar called on State Election Commissioner Saurabh Das to not become ‘an extension’ of the ruling TMC government in West Bengal.

He later tweeted, which reads, “Cautioned Shri Saurav Das that SEC @MamataOfficial toeing the line of state government and be merely its executing agency, would be an outrage of the Constitution as also unwholesome for the democratic process. It will run down the essence and spirit of constitutional provisions in Part IXA.”

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