September 29, 2021 10:27:35 am
MAJOR POLITICAL parties in West Bengal, barring the ruling Trinamool Congress, on Tuesday said that the Election Commission has not taken into account the festive season in the state when fixing October 30 as the date for the by-poll in four assembly seats.
The festival season in West Bengal will begin with Durga Puja on October 11 and continue till Kali Puja, which will be held on November 4. “The by-poll should have been held after the festive season gets over. We guess the EC didn’t have these inputs concerning Bengal. Anyway we are ready for the polls,” BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said.
CPI-M central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said the EC has “not applied its mind” while announcing the date for the by-poll. “The EC could have declared by-poll in all the five seats on September 30 and not only in Bhabanipur. On September 4 the poll panel declared by-poll in only Bhabanipur and not in four other seats to help one particular political entity,” he told PTI.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is among the contestants in Bhabanipur. Banerjee, who powered her party TMC to a sweeping win but had lost to her protege-turned-bitter foe Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram in the April-May state election, is required to be elected within six months as per constitutional provisions. The BJP had blamed Banerjee for forcing the by-poll in Bhabanipur as one of her cabinet ministers and senior party member vacated the seat to facilitate her entry to the Assembly.
“Now the EC has declared by-poll in four other assembly segments on October 30 in the middle of a festive season when people are in the mood for celebration, when many people travel for holidays. The EC has not applied its mind while deciding the dates for West Bengal,” Chakraborty added. Congress Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya echoed him.
West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim supporting the EC announcement, said as no assembly seat can be unrepresented for more than six months the by-poll had to be notified in two phases on September 30 and on October 30.
“Durga Puja will be over on October 16 and the by-election will be held on October 30, not on the days of Lakshmi Puja or Kali Puja. The campaigning will take place in the seats where by-election will be held only for some days. There was no alternative in the present situation,” he added.
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