Kolkata/Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission of India today announced that bypolls to the Bhabanipur assembly constituency in West Bengal will be held on September 30. Notably, the election is crucial for Mamata Banerjee as she must register a victory from the seat to continue as Chief Minister of West Bengal. The counting will take place on October 3.Also Read - PM Modi Likely to Visit US Around Sept End & Meet Biden | What's on Agenda
Meanwhile, polling and counting will also be held in Samserganj & Jangipur (West Bengal), and Pipli (Odisha) on the same dates.
The Election Commission has, however, deferred bypolls to 31 other constituencies in view of the Covid-19 situation.
“… considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal, it has (been) decided to hold bypoll for AC 159 – Bhabanipur. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19,” NDTV quoted the EC as saying.
“After taking into consideration the inputs and views of Chief Secretaries of the concerned states, and the respective Chief Electoral Officers, the Commission has decided not to hold bypolls in other 31 Assembly constituencies and 3 Parliamentary constituencies,” it added.
Mamata, who lost to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram seat, will contest from her home turf Bhabanipur assembly constituency, which was vacated by veteran leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay shortly after the results were declared. She needs to win the bypoll to get elected as MLA and continue to hold on the Chief Minister’s chair.
A few days ago, Mamata Banerjee had insisted that Election Commission should immediately announce dates for the pending bypolls to seven assembly seats of the state as the Covid-19 situation was under control. She had said that the EC should ensure that the democratic rights of people are not curtailed.
“(It’s been) Already four months (since the elections got over), and now with the COVID-19 situation completely under control, people have the right to cast their ballot… They (ECI) had asked for the opinion of political parties.
“I think the EC must announce the by-election dates immediately as we must not curtail the democratic rights of the people,” she had said at the state secretariat.