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Voting in containment zones during last hour of polling: West Bengal State Election Commission

🔴 Calcutta HC reserves order on plea seeking postponement of polls; voters in containment zones at Bidhannagar, Asansol, Chandannagar and Siliguri will be able to cast their votes between 4 - 5 pm on the polling day.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
January 14, 2022 4:45:47 am
COVID-19, Omicron, West Bengal State Election Commission, Bengal Covid, Bengal Covid news, West Bengal government, containment zones, Bengal civic elections, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsAt a vaccination centre in Kolkata on Thursday. Express Photo

Amid the surge in Covid-19 and Omicron cases in the state, the West Bengal State Election Commission on Wednesday said that voters living in containment zones will be allowed to vote only during the last hour of poll timings in the forthcoming civic elections.

Voters in containment zones will be able to cast their votes between 4 – 5 pm on polling day.  Municipal elections in Asansol, Chandannagar, Siliguri and Bidhannagar are scheduled to be held on January 22. All the poll-bound areas have been reporting an sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.

Given the increase in Covid-19 infections in the state, the West Bengal government has decided to categorise areas reporting a high number of cases as micro-containment zones. As per the figures released by the state government on Wednesday, there are 897 containment zones and micro-containment zones across the state.

SEC’s announcement comes in the wake of the Calcutta High Court’s decision to reserve judgment in the plea seeking postponement of civic elections in Asansol, Chandannagar, Siliguri and Bidhannagar, in the wake of the rising cases of Covid-19 in West Bengal.

Hearing the plea on Thursday, a bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj, observed, “We will consider and pass orders. The order will be uploaded on the website.”

The court also took on record a report filed by the state government and the West Bengal State Election Commission about the Covid-19 situation in the four municipalities.

Appearing for the petitioner, Senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya argued that the submissions of the state government did not repose much confidence as the spread of Covid-19 infection could take place despite such measures.

“If there is this sort of accumulation of people, then there will be a chance of spreading Covid-19 infection,” he added.

At this point, the Chief Justice enquired from the counsel, “Once elections are notified, what is the scope of interference by the state?”

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