The Jomi, Jibika, Bastutontro O Poribesh Raksha Committee (JJBOPRC), which is spearheading the Bhangar agitation against the construction of a power sub-station in the area, on Saturday filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court to become a party in the case of West Bengal State Election Commission vs CPM.
The application has been filed with CPI(ML) Red Star leader Sharmistha Chowdhury as the main petitioner. The next hearing in the case will be on July 3.
On May 9, days before the panchayat election polling day, the SEC had approached the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order directing it to accept the nominations of CPM candidates who had filed their papers electronically within the stipulated time. The high court order was issued on May 8.
In its plea to the Supreme Court, the SEC said it would suffer “irreparable loss and injury” which could not be compensated. The CPM and BJP had filed caveats before the Supreme Court, saying no ex-parte orders should be passed. The petition arrays the CPM as a respondent, besides the state government, the ruling Trinamool Congress, the state panchayat secretary and others.
Opposition parties including CPM, Congress and BJP had claimed the TMC was preventing their candidates from filing nominations through coercion, intimidation and violence. In its May 8 order to the SEC, the HC had observed that the poll process itself involved participation, and to shut out an intending bona fide candidate from participating thwarted basic democratic principles.
The court had said that while the filing of nominations through e-mail was not a recognized procedure under the West Bengal Panchayat Act of 2003, in a situation where allegations of obstructing candidates from filing nominations had surfaced and been noted by the SEC, it should have allowed the filing of papers through e-mail. The SEC, being a constitutional body, had to act “fairly, transparently and independently” by allowing intending candidates to contest, it had said.
“We have filed this application… because we were confident of winning all the panchayat seats in this area. We were prevented from doing so through brute force… We had planned to field 16 candidates but managed to only contest eight seats. Out of these eight seats, five of our candidates won,” said Chowdhury.
The eight JJBOPRC members who fought the election were the ones who had filed their nominations via WhatsApp. The SEC had accepted their nominations after the HC’s directive.