The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday put pressure on the State Election Commission (SEC) demanding that counting of votes for Bidhannagar and Asansol municipal corporations be taken up on October 7 as scheduled, but the SEC said it would take a decision in this regard in the least possible time.
The SEC had on Sunday postponed counting of votes for Bidhannagaar and Asansol Municipal corporations besides Bally under Howrah Municipal Corporation following allegations of large-scale violence and malpractices.
The TMC staged <g data-gr-id="35">dharna</g> in SEC office here in which two state ministers Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Mukherjee and city mayor Sovan Chatterjee participated among other party leaders and <g data-gr-id="36">councillors</g>.
“We want to know under whose pressure they (SEC) took such a decision. Counting should begin on October 7. This is our demand. If no decision is taken today, our movement and protest will continue,” Partha Chatterjee, also TMC secretary-general told reporters after meeting the SEC.
Chatterjee also said, “The people will unitedly protest if the Governor and SEC tried to hatch conspiracy and break the democratic system in the state.” State Election Commissioner S R Upadhyay told reporters that the commission would take a decision on counting in the least possible time. Disapproving dharnas by political parties in the commission’s office, Upadhyay said, “In the history of Election Commission, I never heard of such protests like this.”
“Nobody should try to <g data-gr-id="41">mould</g> the decision of the commission by his or her behavior,” he said. Describing the postponement of the counting as “unconstitutional”, Chatterjee wondered “whether it was done under pressure from Raj Bhavan or Delhi”.
He said that the state BJP president was announcing the decision of the commission regarding <g data-gr-id="38">postponement</g> of counting of votes before it was announced by the SEC.
The BJP, on the other hand, described the SEC’s decision to postpone counting as a “bold step”.
State BJP president Rahul Sinha told reporters after a meeting with Governor K N Tripathi at the Raj Bhavan here that “this never happened earlier. The counting of votes has been put on hold by the SEC. This is a bold step taken by the Commissioner and we should support him.”
Alleging that the polls were nothing but a farce, the BJP leader questioned the role played by the police during the elections. He said that the party’s central team would meet the Chief Election Commissioner in connection with the civic polls in east-Indian state West Bengal.
“We will also write to the CEC in this connection keeping in mind next year’s Assembly elections,” Sinha said.