Stay panchayat poll process in West Bengal until April 16: Calcutta HC

15 April, 2018, 07:19 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Image used for representational purpose

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed the process for the upcoming Panchayat elections in West Bengal till April 16, directing the Election Commission to file a factual report in the court on the poll process.

Panchayat polls are slated to be held in the state in 3 phases on 1st, 3rd and 5th May but the unfolding events have cast a spectre of uncertainty on their schedule.

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Justice Talukdar also rapped BJP representatives for suppressing facts in the court and for being absent from the court on April 11.

After extending the deadline to file nominations for the panchayat polls on April 9, the WBSEC had recalled the order a day later citing "legal complexities". The SEC, on April 9 had issued a notification saying the nomination process could be done on April 10 as well but in the morning of April he passed a fresh notification retracting the previous one and saying that no nomination would be submitted on April 10.

TMC has said that it will move a division bench of the High Court, reports said. The state BJP had moved the Supreme Court against the rollback, which refused to intervene and asked the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court instead.

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Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy said the order is the "victory for the masses of Bengal". Sourabh Kumar Das, secretary in the panchayat and rural development department, said the state had followed the necessary procedure in asking the commission to conduct the elections. "It is a victory of the people of Bengal who have been fighting for a cause under the leadership of the BJP".

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, "We salute the HC order".

Reacting to the order, lawyer and TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said, "The election process is on hold till April 16".

It accused the ruling party in West Bengal of indulging in large scale political violence and preventing opposition candidates from filing nominations for the panchayat polls.

The BJP and the ruling TMC have been at loggerheads, ever since the state election commission announced the poll dates. "The people of the state will give them a befitting reply", he said.

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