Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bengal civic polls set to be held in April

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee keen on polls without EVMs

  • Published 17.01.20, 3:31 AM
  • Updated 17.01.20, 3:31 AM
  • 2 mins read
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the 7th day of Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad protesting CAA, NPR and NRC in Calcutta, Thursday, January 16, 2020. (PTI)

Elections to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and 92 other civic bodies in Bengal are likely to be held in April, sources at Nabanna said.

The final exercise on the part of the state administration before holding the election — delimitation of wards — would be completed on Friday when the district authorities would publish the final list of seats at the civic bodies.

The delimitation is undertaken to reserve seats for various categories — SC, ST, OBC, women — in every five years based on the demography of a particular ward.

“Once the delimitation is complete, the state election commission can issue notification for polls in consultation with the Bengal government. As the delimitation will be completed in 93 civic bodies tomorrow (Friday), the election notification can be issued any time,” said a senior government official.

Sources said it had been primarily decided that elections to the CMC would be held first, in the second week of April, and then in the other 92 civic bodies.

“Elections to 92 civic bodies would be held in two phases and the process is likely to be completed by April 25 before the Ramzan starts from 28th,” said an official.

Sources said the election notification could be issued by March and it was yet to be decided whether ballots would be used. They said chief minister Mamata Banerjee was keen on the polls without EVMs.

Apart from Calcutta, elections will be held to the municipal corporations in Siliguri and Chandernagore also.

Trinamul Congress insiders said the ruling party wanted to hold the elections in all these civic bodies at one go, but the decision was reconsidered primarily for two reasons.

First, Trinamul wants to hold election to the CMC first as the party believes it can win the most prestigious civic body in Bengal without facing much trouble given the support base it has in the city.

“If we win the CMC convincingly, it would affect results in other civic bodies, many of which might witness a close contest because of rise of the BJP, particularly in north Bengal,” said a Trinamul insider.

The ruling establishment also wanted to hold trouble-free civic elections as widespread violence ahead of the panchayat polls caused a severe damage to Trinamul’s image. “The party’s internal assessment was that single-phase panchayat polls damaged Trinamul’s image as proper security arrangements could not be done with state police,” said a minister.

“We don’t want a similar situation in civic polls, particularly ahead of the Assembly elections in 2021.”