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ECI announces bypoll in Bhabanipur, Mamata may contest

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on September 04, 2021

A view of Election Commission of India   -  THE HINDU

Banerjee was defeated by her protege and BJP leader Shuvendu Adhikari in the Nandigram seat in the 2021 Assembly elections.

On a special request from the West Bengal Government, the Election Commission of India has decided to conduct the bypoll in the Bhabanipur constituency. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee intends to contest the seat vacated by State Agriculture Minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay. To continue in the post, she has to become an MLA of the Assembly before November. The bye-election to the stronghold seat of the ruling Trinamool Congress, held by Banerjee in the past, will be held on September 30. The counting is on October 3.

The ECI said in a press note that the Chief Secretary West Bengal informed that Covid 19 situation in the State is entirely under control. "He also brought to the notice that the flood situation in the State has not affected the poll-bound Assembly Constituencies and the State is fully geared up to hold the elections. He also cited that under Article 164(4) of the Constitution of India, a Minister who is not a member of the Legislature of the State for six consecutive months shall cease to be a minister at the expiration of that period. There will be a constitutional crisis and vacuum in the top executive posts in the Government unless elections are held immediately. He has also informed that given administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid vacuum in the State, bye-elections for Bhabanipur, Kolkata from where Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister intends to contest elections may be conducted," the ECI statement said.

Banerjee was defeated by her protege and BJP leader Shuvendu Adhikari in the Nandigram seat in the 2021 Assembly elections.

Chattopadhyay also has to win an Assembly election before November. The Trinamool Congress had indicated that he would contest from Khardah, which fell vacant after party MLA Kajal Sinha died of Covid. However, the election to the seat hasn't been announced by the ECI on Saturday.

The Commission has also decided to hold polls in three Assembly Constituencies-- Samserganj and Jangipur of West Bengal and Pipli of Odisha, where the poll was deferred earlier in May due to deaths of candidates who were contesting. The polls in the three constituencies will also be held on September 30. "In the light of advisory issued by the Health Ministry of Government of India, ECI will keep a close watch on the evolving situation and may further tighten the guidelines for the upcoming elections," the press note said.

Published on September 04, 2021

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