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TMC delegates meet Bengal chief electoral officer for conduction of bypolls

Covid-19 under control, Aariz Aftab has given assurance, says Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee.
Partha Chatterjee.
File picture

Our Bureau, PTI   |   Calcutta   |   Published 06.08.21, 08:02 PM

A delegation of TMC ministers on Thursday met the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Bengal, Aariz Aftab, and urged him to expedite the process of holding elections and by-elections to seven assembly seats in the state, party secretary general Partha Chatterjee said here.

The delegation, of which Chatterjee was a part, also requested Aftab to zero in on a date as soon as possible for conducting the pending polls, given the fact that the Covid-19 situation is currently "under control".


"We urged the CEO to declare a poll date and make necessary arrangements for holding elections to two seats and bypolls to five constituencies at the earliest," Chatterjee stated.

He said that the CEO has given assurance that work was being undertaken in this regard.

"Almost three months have passed since the conclusion of the assembly election process. We sought to know what measures were being taken to conduct the pending elections and by-elections," Chatterjee told reporters following the meeting.

Others who were a part of the TMC delegation include ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Chandrima Bhattacharya, and Shashi Panja.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who lost the Nandigram seat to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, is likely to contest from Calcutta's Bhabanipur constituency which was vacated by winning TMC candidate Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, days after the poll results were declared.

Chattopadhyay is slated to contest by-election from Khardah, which fell vacant after the TMC's Kajal Sinha succumbed to Covid-19.

According to the rules of the Constitution, Mamatahas to get elected to the Assembly within six months of taking oath as the CM to be able to retain the chair.

The CM has also moved an election petition before the Calcutta High Court challenging Adhikari's victory from Nandigram.

Chatterjee further said that the eight-phase elections were held in the state when the second wave of the pandemic was wreaking havoc, and thousands of people got infected daily.

The TMC had demanded back then that the number of phases be reduced in view of the rising cases of Covid-19, but the EC had stuck to the original schedule, he pointed out.

"Daily infections, as per the data available up to August 2, have come down to around 500 or 600. That is why we want the elections to seven constituencies be held immediately with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols," the minister of industry, commerce and enterprise maintained.

Asserting that election commissioners were not being proactive on the issue", the senior TMC leader, in a veiled dig at the BJP, said "those who talk of upholding democracy are trying to delay the polls".

"We have requested the Election Commission to steer clear of such influences," he added.

Last month, a delegation of TMC MPs had met EC officials in New Delhi with a plea to hold the elections as early as possible.

Elections to Samserganj and Jangipur seats were countermanded earlier in the year following death of candidates due to Covid-19. In Gosaba too, TMC MLA Jayanta Naskar died of Covid-related complications.

In Dinhata and Santipur, the winning BJP nominees quit as MLAs as they wanted to retain their parliamentary berths.

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