EC Concedes WB Govt Request To Complete Bhabanipur By-poll Before Puja Fest

Brushing aside BJP’s objections to hold by-elections in West Bengal in the prevailing situation, the Election Commission of India has announced that by-poll to facilitate Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to fulfil her constitutional requirements to retain the post will be held on September 30 from Bhawanipur Assembly Constituency. She has to be elected by November 5 to continue as the chief minister. Bhabanipur assembly is one of the seven segments of the cosmopolitan  South Kolkata Parliamentary Constituency. In  2011, when she became West Bengal’s first lady CM, there was a similar situation as she was not a Member of the state legislative assembly where the TMC led by her secured an absolute majority by trouncing the Marxist Government then headed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. Hence, a by-poll to the Bhowanipore seat was necessitated after sitting MLA of Trinamool Congress Subrata Bakshi resigned to make way for Mamata Banerjee to contest. She had not contested the state assembly elections earlier. She had to become a member of the state assembly within six months of her assuming office as Chief Minister as per the rules of the Constitution of India. She also triumphantly retained the seat in the 2016 assembly elections. In 2021, assembly elections, she lost to her former Minister Suvendu Adhikari of BJP in Nandigram, 170 Km from Kolkata. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay of TMC, who had won the seat in the last election, has vacated the seat in her favour. Besides Bhawanipur, by-elections will also be held in Samserganj and Jangipur of West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha on the date. Counting will be on 3rd October. The West Bengal chief secretary has informed ECI that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the state, bye-elections for Bhabanipur from where CM Mamata Banerjee intends to contest elections may be conducted. “While the commission has decided not to hold bye-elections in other 31 Assembly Constituencies and three Parliamentary constituencies (across India), considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal West Bengal, it has decided to hold bye-election in 159- Bhabanipur AC,” ECI said in a press note. Edited by PK Chakravarty

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