Kolkata: Days after the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for by-elections in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankar appealed to the political parties to ensure that the elections are free from any kind of violence. Speaking to media after garlanding the statue of Vallabhbhai Patel in Kolkata, Dhankar said, “By-polls must be violence free. Let’s hope for a free and fair by-election. The Lok Sabha poll (in Bengal) ended with a different kind of impression. We need to change that.”
“I am hopeful that West Bengal will present an example of the most peaceful elections to the world,” he added. The by-elections in West Bengal for the vacant assembly seats - Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore, and Karimpur in Nadia district - will be held on November 25.
The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmatha Nath Ray on May 31, 2019, while the Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur seats fell vacant after sitting BJP MLA Dilip Ghosh and sitting TMC MLA Mahua Moitra won the parliamentary polls from Midnapore and Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seats respectively.
The last date of filing nominations was November 6 and counting will be held on November 28. The Election Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in all the polling stations. The by-elections will be significant as the beleaguered Congress and the Left Front have decided to go for a seat adjustment.
Dhankar’s statement came three days after he went to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's house to attend the Kali Puja celebration on November 28. "My wife and I went to attend the puja, and we were there for two hours. We spent some time with her (Mamata),” he had said.
The Governor also asked for a CD of songs composed by Mamata, which were played at the Puja. In the last few months, the ruling TMC and West Bengal Governor have been locked in a war of words for quite some time over various issues.
On September 19, 2019, the Governor faced criticism from the ruling TMC for visiting and rescuing BJP MP Babul Supriyo who faced strong protest by students of Jadavpur University after he went there to attend an event organized by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.