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Politics & Governance

Trinamool Congress urges ECI to hold By-polls, BJP opposes citing Covid

Trinamool Congress

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, urged the Election Commision of India (ECI) to hold the long due By-polls in the state. Citing the improved situation of Covid-19 in the state, she requested the ECI to hold elections for seven constituencies in the state without any delay. So far, there has been no clarification from the ECI in regards to dates of elections.

“We request the ECI that already four months are over since the West Bengal Assembly Elections and it’s our humble request to the Election Commision that they must announce polls dates immediately and do not encroach upon the democratic rights of the citizens. The covid situation in Bengal is totally under control and it’s high time for ECI to announce the dates and allow people their right to cast their vote and elect their MLAs,” Banerjee said.

However, the principal opposition party- BJP has objected to this demand. The state unit has written a letter to the high command in New Delhi stating that holding the By-polls for the vacant seats is not conducive due to the Covid-19 situation in the state. BJP Bengal president, Dilip Ghosh said, “Yes, we wrote a letter to the central leadership objecting to conduct by-polls in the state at this point of time.”

Ghosh further added, “The Trinamool government is not even allowing public meetings and gathering in the state and there are many other restrictions in regards to covid. They are not even declaring the municipal elections dates in the state which are pending for years. Therefore, we felt that it is not conducive to hold the by-polls in the state.”

Currently, there are 6 vacant seats in the state. Dinhata and Santipur assembly seats fell vacant after Nishith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar resigned as MLAs after winning their seats to retain their Parliament membership. Similarly, elections could not be held in Samserganj and Jangipur seats due to death of candidates during the recent state polls. Kharda seat also fell vacant after the MLA Kajal Sinha passed away and Gosba too fell vacant due to a death of the winning candidate. The high profile seat of Bhawanipur was left vacant as Sovandeb Chattopadhyay resigned making way for Mamata Banerjee who was defeated in Nandigram.

BJP is also targeting TMC by accusing them of trying to ensure that Banerjee remains on the chair of CM. As per the Indian Constitution, it is mandated that anyone can run the state as CM but he/she will have to get themselves elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly in next six months to retain the chair. In Banerjee’s case the elections must be conducted by November 5, 2021.

However, political analysts feel that ECI could organise the By-polls in September end as October will see commencement of Durga Puja. Escalating their effort in building pressure upon the Election Commision, a 5 member delegation of TMC comprising of MPs Saugata Roy, Sukhendu S Ray, Jawhar Sircar, Sajda Ahmed and Mahua Moitra will be visiting the Election Commision office today in New Delhi to submit their written replies urging to hold early elections.

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