Covid situation under control, EC should declare bypoll dates immediately: Mamata

Covid situation under control, EC should declare bypoll dates immediately: Mamata

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee said the Election Commission must hold the by-elections in the seven Assembly seats immediately "without curtailing" the democratic rights of people when the Covid situation is under control.

"Four months have already passed. The Covid situation is also under control and there are no cases of Covid in the areas where the bypolls would be held. People have the right to choose their MLA and they (Election Commission) should not curtail this democratic right of the people. The Election Commission must announce the date of bypolls immediately," Banerjee said.

Bypolls in the state would be held in seven seats — Bhowanipore, Khardah, Gosaba, Dinhata, Shantipur, Shamserganj and Jangipur. A recent report has revealed that there are no Covid positive cases in any of these seven Assembly constituencies and even the Covid positivity rate across Bengal has reduced to about one per cent.

Trinamool Congress would be submitting the data to the Election Commission highlighting that the pandemic situation cannot be the reason to delay by-polls in the state as its positivity rate has now dropped to 1 percent compared to that of 33 percent during the eighth phase of the Assembly polls.

Banerjee weathered a spiteful campaign by the Opposition and became Chief Minister for the third consecutive term with a landslide victory in the Assembly polls. But she would be contesting from the Bhowanipore Assembly segment as she needs to win a poll within six months to become a member of the state's Legislative Assembly and remain as the Chief Minister as she was declared defeated from Nandigram by a slender margin of 1,956 votes.

State Agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee has resigned as MLA from Bhowanipore and he would now be contesting from Khardah Assembly segment in North 24-Parganas where the bypoll would be conducted as a nominee of Trinamool Congress Kajal Sinha, who was declared as a winning candidate on May 2, had passed away due to Covid a few days after the elections.

There would be bypolls in South 24-Parganas' Gosaba with the death of TMC MLA Jayanta Naskar.

By-elections will be held at Dinhata and Shantipur Assembly constituencies as BJP MPs Nisith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar respectively had refused to continue as MLAs despite winning. By-polls will also be held in the Samsherganj and Jangipur seats in Murshidabad where the elections could not be held on the scheduled date – April 26 — due to the passing away of Congress candidate Rezaul Haque and RSP candidate Pradip Nandi from respective seats due to Covid.

It needs to be mentioned that the state government has already written to the Election Commission that by-polls in seven Assembly constituencies can also be held along with the elections for the two Rajya Sabha seats.

The Election Commission also sought views of all political parties within August 30 in terms of conducting the bypolls.

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