TMC again urges EC to hold bypolls in West Bengal

Trinamool Congress again urges EC to hold bypolls in West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee has about two-and-a-half months to get elected to the legislative assembly in order to continue at the helm of the state government

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI file photo

The Trinamool Congress on Thursday urged the Election Commission to hold bypolls in West Bengal soon, with its supremo Mamata Banerjee having just about two-and-a-half more months to get elected to the legislative assembly to continue as the Chief Minister of the state.

Banerjee’s party told the EC that it would propose a guideline to be followed by all political parties while campaigning during the bye-elections in order to avoid causing a surge in the Covid-19 infection.

A delegation of the Trinamool Congress had a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey at the Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi. The delegation included party MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Saugata Roy and Sajda Ahmed.

They submitted a memorandum to the EC, asking it to take necessary actions and appropriate steps forthwith in accordance with the Representation of People’s Act 1951 to hold bypolls to fill the seven vacancies in the legislative assembly of West Bengal.

To drive home the point that the Covid-19 situation was conducive for holding the bypolls, the Trinamool Congress pointed out that the second wave of the pandemic was on the wane in West Bengal and infection rate had steeply declined in the seven assembly constituencies where bye-elections should be held.

Banerjee led her party to a landslide victory in the assembly polls, but lost to her protege-turned-foe Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP in Nandigram. She commenced her third term as the Chief Minister of West Bengal on May 5 last.

She now has about two-and-a-half months to get elected to the legislative assembly in order to continue at the helm of the state government.

The Section 151 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, requires the EC to conduct bye-election to fill any vacancy in any legislative assembly or councils in any state or the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha within six months from the date of creation of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term in relation to the vacancy is one year or more. The sub-section (b) of the Section 151 of the R P Act, however, allows the EC to postpone bye-elections, if it certifies in consultation with the Central Government that it would be difficult to hold the bye-election within the stipulated period of six months.

Sovandeb Chattopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress was elected to the legislative assembly from Bhabanipur during the recent elections in West Bengal. He, however, resigned from the membership of the State Assembly, apparently to make way for the Trinamool Congress supremo to contest from the constituency. The other constituencies where the EC would have to hold bypolls are Gosaba, Dinhata, Samsherganj, Jangipur, Khardah and Shantipur.

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