Polls in 4 civic bodies on Jan 22

Kolkata: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday announced that voting in four municipal corporations — Siliguri, Chandernagore, Bidhannagar and Asansol will be held on January 22.

The SEC has left out Howrah Municipal Corporation, reasoning that it has received no communication regarding the polls from the state government, as yet. The official notification regarding the elections will be brought out on Tuesday.

State Election Commissioner Sourav Das said nomination filing for the January 22 polls will commence on December 28 and the last date for submitting nomination is January 3, 2022. The date for scrutiny of nomination will be on January 4 while January 6 has been fixed as the last date for withdrawing the nominations.

According to Das, repoll, if any, will be conducted on January 24, while counting of votes will be held on January 25, 2022. The election process will be completed by January 28.

Among the four municipal corporations which are going for polls, Asansol (AMC) is the largest with 106 seats and 9,42088 voters. The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has 4,46640 electors with 41 wards, Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has 47 wards with 4,02895 voters while Chandernagore Municipal Corporation (CMC) has 33 wards with 1,44839 electors.

The highest number of polling stations are under AMC — 1020 followed by 468 under BMC, 421 under SMC and 169 under CMC.

Das said there will be CCTV surveillance in 100 per cent booths and Electronic Voting Machines will be used. "We have adopted electoral rolls updated up to November 1, 2021," he said, adding that the Model Code of Conduct will be applicable in the poll-bound areas from Monday itself.

The Commission held an all-party meeting regarding elections on Monday afternoon where the Opposition, including the Left Front, Congress and BJP expressed their reservations about the voters' list under consideration for the upcoming polls.

"The new voter list (revised) will come out around January 5, 2022. But the Commission is not considering this list. This will deprive a number of electors," a senior BJP leader said.

Meanwhile, Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee said on Monday that he cannot figure out the reason behind Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar not giving his assent to a Bill for bifurcation of the Howrah Municipal Corporation.

He added that the elections to Howrah Municipal Corporation and Bally municipality could have been held together with other municipal bodies in the state where polls are due, had the Governor given assent.

Asked about her view on the delay in getting assent from Dhankhar, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said there are constitutional bindings and "I will do what I am supposed to, and he will do what he is supposed to." Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections were held on December 19.

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