Bhowanipore Bypolls on Sept 30, Announce EC as Mamata Gears Up to Retain CM Post

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The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced conducting by-elections to three seats in West Bengal including Bhabanipur Constituency. The by-polls will be conducted on Bhabanipur, Samserganj and Jangipur in West Bengal.

The by-polls to the three seats will be conducted on September 30 and the results will be declared on October 3.

The announcement comes as a relief to Mamata Banerjee who needs to win the by-poll to get elected as MLA and continues to be the Chief Minister. Mamata Banerjee had lost her seat to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari with a narrow margin. The annocuncement comes as the TMC had gone to EC thrice to conduct the by-polls.

Mamata is expected to file nominations from Bhabanipur in Kolkata which was vacated by TMC candidate Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, days after results in May this year.

“We have definitely placed our arguments favouring election now, as Covid-19 has decreased, we have given them all data stating the Covid situation in the state. We are confident that TMC will do well,” Kunal Ghosh, General Secretary of TMC said.

The Election Commission said in a statement that it has decided to hold a by-election in Bhabanipur Assembly Constituency of West Bengal. Bypolls will also be held in Samserganj and Jangirpur of West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha on September 30. Counting will be held on October 3. According to an Election Commission press note, the West Bengal chief secretary has informed 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 state of West Bengal, it has decided to hold bye-election in 159-Bhabanipur AC,” it said.

A report in NDTV said that bypolls for 31 other constituencies have been deferred in light of the Covid situation.

“… considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal, it has (been) decided to hold bypoll for AC 159 – Bhabanipur. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19,” the top poll body reportedly said.

Earlier, Congress Adhir Choudhuri said that Congress will not contest from Bhawanipur. Congress MP Pradeep Bhattacharya said, “We wanted election and it is good that EC has declared (the dates), we wanted the election on time.”

The EC has also announced that Covid-19 guidelines have to be strictly followed. It has banned roadshows and no bike rallies are allowed.

In an indoor campaign setup, only 30 percent capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, will be allowed.

Mamata’s Trinamool Congress returned back to power in Bengal by winning 213 out of 294 seats in the state. She had given her stronghold of Bhabinipur and instead contested from Nandigram against former TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari.

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