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Thursday, January 20, 2022

State Election Commission defers Bengal civic polls in view of Covid-19 surge

The municipal elections in Asansol, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and Chandannagar, which were slated to be held on January 22, have been postponed to February 12.

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
Updated: January 15, 2022 3:11:35 pm
Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Himachal, Himachal news, Chief Electoral Officer, Chief Electoral OfficerThe work on special revision of photo electoral rolls has been completed in all 68 Assembly constituencies of Himachal Pradesh and was published on Saturday (Representational)

Taking into consideration the Covid-19 situation, the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) on Saturday decided to postpone civic body polls to February 12.

The municipal elections in Asansol, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and Chandannagar, which were slated to be held on January 22, have been postponed to February 12, the WBSEC stated in a notification after its meeting with the state government.

The move comes after the Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered the WBSEC to explore the possibility of deferring the polls by four to six weeks in view of a high number of Covid cases. State government sources said on Saturday that they had also requested WBSEC to defer the polls in view of the Covid-19 crisis.

The notification issued by WBSEC on Saturday stated, “In compliance with the solemn Order dated 13.01 .2022 of the Hon’ble Division Bench, High Court Calcutta, in the matter WPA(P) No. 4 of 2022 Bimal Bhattacharya vs State of West Bengal and others, the West Bengal State Election Commission, on consideration of the prevalent COVID19 pandemic situation, in exercise of the power conferred by Section 8 of the West Bengal State Election Commission Act, 1994 readwith Section 84 of the West Bengal Municipal Elections Act, 1994, in modification of its earlier notification No. 1347-SEC/LE-9912021 dated 28.12.2021 in respect of the Municipal Corporations mentioned in the schedule below, hereby appoints the 12th day of February, 2022, as the date on which the poll shall be taken from 07.00 AM to 05.00 PM, without interruption.”

On Friday, a Calcutta High Court division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Ajay Kumar Mukherjee earlier had said, “We dispose of the present petition with a direction to the State Election Commission to consider the galloping speed with which the COVID cases are increasing and also to take into account the issue if holding of elections in such a situation will be in the public interest and if free and fair elections will be possible on the dates notified, and take a decision in respect of the postponement of date of elections of aforesaid four Municipal Corporations for a short period of 4 to 6 weeks.”

The court had directed the WBSEC to arrive at a decision within 48 hours.

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