Politics News

Ready to Hold Pending Civic Polls in Two Phases, West Bengal Election Panel Informs High Court

The West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) informed the Calcutta High Court on Thursday that it is ready to conduct all the pending civic elections in the state in two phases.

Appearing on behalf of the WBSEC, advocate Jayanta Mitra told the Court that out of 111 pending civic polls, the commission is ready to hold municipal elections at Howrah, Chandannagar, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and in Asansol on January 22 in the first phase.

“In the second phase, the state poll body has taken all the preparations to conduct pending polls of remaining 106 civic bodies in West Bengal on February 27,” Advocate Mitra told the court.

The pending civic polls became a bone of contention between the ruling TMC in Bengal and the BJP who demanded conduct of elections for all municipal bodies simultaneously in the state, which have been pending for a long time.

Based on BJP’s plea, filed by senior leader Pratap Banerjee, in the court, the Calcutta High Court sought a response from the WBSEC and state government on pending civic polls on November 16.

The WBSEC officials told the court that they are ready to hold the poll in Kolkata and Howrah because the Covid-19 situation is under control and conducting phase-wise polling will help them manage the crowd.

Though the 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.

State BJP leaders see a ploy in holding polls in a phased manner and say the TMC’s move has been prompted by the opposition party’s failure to secure a single MLA seat in the three areas and Trinamool wants to take the advantage of a favorable political situation.

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

Meanwhile, while announcing Firhad Hakim’s name as the Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee commended the State Election Commission and police to hold peaceful elections.

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