Bengal panel told to hold civic polls on Sept 21

 In yet another legal setback for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court ruled in favour of the State Election Commission (SEC) in deciding the schedule for the forthcoming polls for 12 municipalities across the state.

Quashing the state government’s appeal for holding the municipal polls before September 15, the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi ordered the municipal polls to be held on September 21, as the SEC had wanted.

The high court, which earlier heard the case on Wednesday, had given Advocate General (AG) Bimal Chatterjee an hour’s time to let the court know whether the state government was ready to hold the elections after September 20, as the SEC wanted and not on September 7, as the government was gunning for. 

With the AG failing to provide a satisfactory reply, the court was adjourned for the day.The judgement was delivered on Friday, leaving the government pleaders grave looking. Partha Chatterjee, who holds the industry and Parliamentary affairs portfolios, told reporters they would abide by the court order. 

Earlier, the government had argued that elections for the 12 municipalities should be held before September 15 as the Viswakarma Puja will be celebrated on September 17, which heralds the beginning of the Durga Puja festival few days later.

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