The Calcutta High Court will on Monday hear the BJP’s petition seeking its intervention over the ruling Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) alleged attempts to prevent Opposition candidates from filing their panchayat poll nomination papers. The BJP had accused the TMC of inciting violence for this purpose. The court will hear pleas challenging the West Bengal State Election Commission’s (WBSEC) withdrawal of its April 9 notification that extended the date for filing nominations by a day. It is also likely to pronounce its verdict on whether the poll process should resume after receiving a report from the panel.
Justice Subrata Talukdar had last week stayed the election process until Monday while seeking a report from the WBSEC on the measures taken to address the concerns of the Opposition. He asked the WBSEC to file a status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected. Justice Talukdar had on April 10 stayed the withdrawal of the notification while staying the election process.
The state BJP had moved the Supreme Court against the WBSEC’s move to withdraw the notification, citing “legal complexities”. The apex court refused to intervene and asked the party to approach the high court. The TMC on Friday challenged Talukdar’s stay order before the high court’s division bench, which will hear the matter on Monday.
Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pande hoped the high court’s verdict will be in TMC’s favour. “The people of Bengal are our strength. We have full faith in the development work undertaken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee across the state. We have worked responsibly and the high court verdict will be in our favour. We will emerge victorious.”
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said they have full faith in the judiciary. “We believe the state’s people will get a positive court order.’’ The panchayat elections were scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5 while the counting of votes was due on May 8. As many as 1,57,665 nominations have been filed for 58,692 seats. TMC candidates have filed 72,884 nominations while the BJP count is 34,507.