KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court has ordered the State Election Commission (SEC) to announce fresh dates for filing of nomination for Bengal Panchayat poll. It canceled a prior SEC notification quashing an initial order of extending the nomination process by one day on April 10, and directed the Commission to issue fresh date of filing of nomination papers. The HC had last week, issued a stay on filing of nomination, following allegations of large scale violence by the Opposition parties.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI (M)) leader Rabin Deb said they are “happy” with the order. Trinamool Congress claimed that the High Court has accepted their arguments and demands. Panchayat elections in West Bengal were to be held in three phases from May 1 to May 5 and the counting of votes was scheduled on May 8. The SEC will however, have to announce a new schedule, following the fresh order. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the move. She said, “We want an early poll, as the temperature will be rising in May and in places like Purulia, Bankura, and Birbhum it touches almost 50 degree Celsius. The Opposition is unwilling to hold the polls anf for which they had moved the court, to stall it,” she said. The CM also worries that Ramzan starts in mid-May and hopes the polls will be over before that.
She said about 30 per cent of the people will be observing Ramzan in Bengal, so the month should be spared. The Opposition had moved the HC seeking increase of time for filing nominations, as they alleged that Trinamool had unleashed terror in West Bengal and were not allowing Opposition candidates to file nominations. Congress MP and PCC chief Adhir Choudhury had also filed a case.