Bypolls for 30 Assembly seats on Oct 30: EC

30 Assembly seats to go for bypolls on Oct 30, announces Election Commission

The commission stated that it had decided to hold the bypolls after reviewing the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the states

Representative Image. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Election Commission on Tuesday announced the schedule of bypolls in 30 assembly constituencies in 14 states, as its earlier decision to conduct the voting only in Bhabanipur in West Bengal was questioned by the Calcutta High Court last week.

The EC announced the schedule of the bye-elections to fill vacancies in the 30 assembly constituencies across the country on a day the Calcutta High Court observed that it was inappropriate for the Chief Secretary of the Government of West Bengal to write to the commission, appealing it to hold the bypoll in Bhabanipur in the state in order to avoid a constitutional crisis. The High Court, however, did not issue any order to stay the bypoll in Bhabanipur, which would go to polls on September 30 with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee being the candidate of her party Trinamool Congress.

The poll panel announced that the voting for the bye-elections in 30 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would be held on October 30. The polling for the bye-elections in Mandi and Khandwa parliamentary constituencies in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as well as in the lone parliamentary constituency in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu would also be held on the same day. The votes polled in all the assembly and parliamentary constituencies would be counted on November 2.

The commission stated that it had decided to hold the bypolls after reviewing the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the states and factoring in flood, festivals, cold conditions in certain regions, apart from taking into account feedbacks it had received from the governments of the states and the Union Territories.

The EC had on September 4 last announced the bye-elections in Bhabanipur, thus throwing a lifeline to Banerjee, who had been left with only a few weeks to get elected to the state Assembly in order to continue as the Chief Minister of the State. The commission however had not declared bypolls to fill four other vacancies in the state Assembly of West Bengal and 26 in 13 other States. The poll panel had then stated that the governments of other states had conveyed to it that it would not be advisable to hold the bypolls in view of the flood, festivals and the Covid-19 situation.

The poll panel had quoted the Chief Secretary of West Bengal conveying to it that the Covid-19 situation had been under control in the State and the bye-election in Bhabanipur should be held immediately in view of the administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a constitutional crisis and a vacuum in the top executive posts in the state government.

Banerjee had led her party Trinamool Congress to a landslide victory in the assembly polls in West Bengal in March-April this year, but had lost to her protege-turned-foe Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP in Nandigram. She had commenced her third term as the Chief Minister of West Bengal on May 5 last. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress had been elected to the legislative assembly from Bhabanipur during the elections in West Bengal. He, however, had resigned from the membership of the State Assembly, apparently to make way for the Trinamool Congress supremo to contest from the constituency.

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