Election Commission declares bypolls, ends Bengal suspense

A man pulls his rickshaw in front of the hoardings of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, put up by Trinamool workers ahead of Assembly bypoll at Bhabanipur in West Bengal on September 4, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The byelection in the Bhabanipur Assembly constituency in West Bengal, from where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to contest, will be held on September 30, the Election Commission of India announced on Saturday.

The election to the Samserganj and Jangipur Assembly seats, also in West Bengal, and Pipli in Odisha too will be held on that date. The elections to the three seats were adjourned after the death of candidates and later deferred in view of the second wave of COVID-19.


The counting of votes in all four constituencies will be held on October 3. The nominations are to be filed from September 6 to 13. The byelections to three Lok Sabha and 31 other Assembly seats have, however, been kept on hold. Ms. Banerjee, who lost from Nandigram in May, has until November 5 to get elected in order to continue as the Chief Minister.

The commission, in a statement, said the Chief Secretaries of Odisha and West Bengal informed it that the COVID-19 situation in their States was under control. The West Bengal Chief Secretary said the State was ready to hold election and that floods had not affected the poll-bound constituencies. “He also informed that in view of the administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the State, byelection for 159-Bhabanipur, Kolkata from where Ms. Mamata Banerjee intends to contest elections may be conducted,” the statement said.

“Considering the constitutional exigency and special request from State of West Bengal, it has decided to hold by-election in 159- Bhabanipur AC,” the statement said.

Election Commission declares bypolls, ends Bengal suspense

Stricter norms had been put in place, including limiting indoor meetings to 30% of the allowed capacity or 200 persons, whichever is less, it added.

The Election Commission had held a meeting with State officials on Wednesday. The Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and the adviser of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu informed it of the flood-related constraints, festivals and the COVID-19 situation, the statement said.

“They suggested that it would be advisable to have by-elections after the festival season ends,” it added.

Some States also told the Commission of the government as well as research bodies predicting a possible third wave of the pandemic in October.

The Commission noted that it had decided not to hold bypolls to the 31 Assembly seats and three Lok Sabha seats after considering the inputs from the Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of the States concerned.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 9:21:58 PM |

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