Kolkata municipal elections announced, BJP questions SEC notification with case pending in High Court

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The standoff between the ruling TMC and the BJP over the pending civic polls intensified after the West Bengal State Election Commission issued notification regarding Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections on Thursday.

Baffled by the polling date, West Bengal BJP leaders questioned how the SEC issued the notification for the KMC elections while the matter was pending for hearing in the Calcutta High Court on November 29.

Pratap Banerjee, in-charge of BJP’s upcoming KMC election management committee, had a word with the party’s legal cell (after the election notification was issued by the SEC) and requested a division bench to hear their grievances. Sources said the high court has agreed to hear on Friday.

According to the notification issued by the SEC, Secretary N Sandilya, polling will be held on December 19 from 7 am to 5 pm (in all 144 wards) and counting of votes will take place on December 21. Model code of conduct comes. Effective Friday.

The last date for filing nominations is December 1, while the scrutiny will take place on December 2. The last date for withdrawal of candidates is December 4 and the entire election process will be completed on December 22.

Speaking to News18.com, State BJP Vice President Jai Prakash Majumdar said, “The State Election Commission is helpless and it is working on the instructions of the ruling government. It is unfortunate that the State Election Commission is biased and favoring the ruling party.”

Former BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has expressed grief over the notification. “I don’t know what is happening. When the matter is pending in the court, how did the state election commission issue the KMC election notification…very surprising,” he said.

On 24 November, the Calcutta HC adjourned the hearing to 29 November while hearing a petition seeking simultaneous elections for all municipal bodies in West Bengal.

Earlier, on November 16, the court had sought response from the West Bengal SEC and the state government on the basis of a petition filed by BJP leader Pratap Banerjee. Long pending.

SEC officials told the court that they were ready to hold elections in Kolkata and Howrah as the COVID-19 situation was under control, and that conducting the polls in a phased manner would solve management issues.

The ruling party has demanded that the civic polls be held in phases and the SEC should first start the election process from Howrah and Kolkata. However, on Friday when the SEC announced the date for the KMC elections, it did not mention the polling dates for Howrah. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had on November 24 returned the bill to separate Balli from the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) and sought clarifications on 18 points.

TMC MP Saugata Roy said, “We welcome the KMC election notification issued by SEC. They could not announce the date of civic elections for Howrah after the Governor did not give the green signal for the bifurcation of Bally Municipality from Howrah Municipal Corporation. But it is good news that KMC election date has been announced and we hope people will vote for us once again.

Congress MP Pradeep Bhattacharya condemned the SEC’s decision to hold the KMC elections without informing the court. “We have demanded simultaneous voting in all pending municipal bodies in the state, but the ruling party is forcibly creating a situation before the SEC to conduct the elections in a phased manner. It is shocking that he did not inform the court before announcing the polling dates. We hope the court will look into the matter.”

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty also said, “There is no logic behind conducting phased voting in the municipal bodies in the state.”

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