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Civic elections: ‘Polling first in Howrah, Kolkata due to high vaccination’, SEC to EC

An SEC official said a decision on the elections in other municipalities would be taken after the two elections.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: November 23, 2021 6:33:08 am
Of the total 115 civic bodies, elections are due in 112, including Howrah and Kolkata.

Facing heat from Opposition parties for not holding elections for 112 civic bodies on the same day, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday informed the Calcutta High Court that it had first chosen Howrah and Kolkata because the percentage of fully vaccinated people was high there.

“SEC has argued before the court that 75% of the people above 18 years of age in Kolkata have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and 55% in Howrah,” said an official from Urban Development and Municipal Affairs department, citing the joint affidavit filed by the EC and state
government in the court.

Total 2.59 crore people in the state have been fully vaccinated against Covid, according to a bulletin issued by the Health Department on Monday. As many as 6.14 crore people have been given one Covid vaccine dose.

An SEC official said a decision on the elections in other municipalities would be taken after the two elections. Of the total 115 civic bodies, elections are due in 112, including Howrah and Kolkata.

Early in November, BJP leader Pratap Banerjee had filed a petition in the HC, seeking a reply from the EC and state government as why elections due in all civic bodies could not be held on the
same day.

The state government has recently proposed to the EC that elections to Howrah and Kolkata could be scheduled on December 19.

An EC official on Monday said the poll notification for the two districts would be issued after the HC verdict in one or two days.

The issue of simultaneous elections was raised during an all-party meeting convened by the SEC on Monday. SEC told the parties that a HC verdict would soon clear the air.

The panel also told the parties that during elections all Covid protocols would be strictly followed and the silence hour would kick in 72 hours before the date of polling.

The EC official said, “We are expecting that the court will announce its verdict tomorrow or day after. Following this, we will announce the municipal elections to Kolkata and Howrah.”

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