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Calcutta HC directs EC to conduct polls in seven municipalities

5/16/2015 3:19:39 PM

Soumitra Nandi
Kolkata:
 In a major setback   for the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the state election commission to hold the polls in seven municipalities in Bengal by 15th June. The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Joymalya Bagchi shot down the state government’s plea to defer the polls of the seven civic bodies whose tenure ends on June 16. 

“The state election commission will discharge its constitutional duty and hold the elections within the stipulated date,” stated the division bench.  The state had moved the high court with an appeal to hold the polls on a later date because it planned to upgrade them into corporations. The seven municipalities are Rajarhat- Gopalpur , Bidhannagar, Asansol, Kulti, Jamuria, Raniganj and Bally. The court observed that any effort to postpone polls beyond tenure is illegal.

SEC counsel Nayan Chand Bihani said, “It is the duty of the state government to notify the poll date. How could we hold the polls without the cooperation of the state government?” He also pointed out that the election panel took an initiative to hold the elections within the court’s timeframe.

“But the state had moved court stating that it wants to upgrade the civic body to municipal corporations. This was their plea for holding the polls at a later date,” Bihani said. 

State election commissioner S.R. Upadhayay said that the commission will call for an all party meeting to discuss the poll dates as soon as it gets a copy of the court’s order. 

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