A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Calcutta on Friday seeking the court’s intervention to direct the Election Commission (EC) to announce the dates of by-poll in the seven vacant assembly constituencies of West Bengal.
The PIL has been filed in Calcutta High Court by Advocate Rama Prasad Sarkar and has been scheduled for the next hearing on 8th September.
Trinamool’s Press for Early Bypolls
On 26th August, a team of delegates from Trinamool Congress met the officials of the EC in Delhi with a plea to hold the by-polls as soon as possible for the seven vacant assembly seats in the State.
The Dinhata and Santipur assembly seats became vacant after BJP leaders Nisith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar resigned as MLAs after retaining their Parliament memberships.
Moreover, elections could not be held in Samserganj and Jangipur seats in Murshidabad due to the demise of candidates during the recent assembly polls in the State.
On the other hand, the Kharda seat fell vacant in the North 24-Parganas district after TMC candidate Kajal Sinha passed away before celebrating his victory.
The Gosaba seat also became vacant after the TMC candidate, Jayanta Naskar, who won the elections, passed away due to Covid-19 in June 2021.
“Our meeting with the Election Commission was quite pleasant, and the poll body said that their objective is to hold the elections and not to withdraw the polling process.
We told them that the circumstances are conducive for holding the polls as the number of COVID-19 cases has declined. We have also provided them with COVID-19 statistics in all the seven constituencies where bye-polls are pending.
The EC said they would consider our matter, and we are hopeful for an adequate response from the EC,” said TMC MP Saugata Roy during the press conference.
On 21st May, TMC MLA from Bhawanipur constituency Sovandeb Chattopadhyay resigned from the post to pave the way for Mamata Banerjee.
According to the Indian Constitution, Mamata Banerjee, who initially lost her Nandigram seat in this Assembly Polls, can now run the State as a Chief Minister and retain her post given that she gets elected in the next six months.
Thus, the by-poll in six vacant assembly seats must be conducted by 5th November 2021.
Dilip Ghosh, West Bengal State BJP president, said that it is a court matter, and he would not like to make any comment.
Sujan Chakraborty, CPI-M leader, also supported the timely completion of by-polls but said that the state government should also declare the dates of pending municipal polls.
Petitioner Advocate Rama Prashad Sarkar from Calcutta HC said that the Representation of Peoples Act under Sec 150,151 states that elections/by-elections must be held within six months.
He also expressed his concern about why the Election Commission is delaying the by-polls unnecessarily.
“CM Mamata Banerjee took oath on 5th May. My respectful submission before the Chief Justice is to kindly direct the Election Commission of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, and State Election Commission to disclose the dates for by-elections immediately,” Sarkar added.