Bengal government urges Election Commission to conduct bypolls soon



KOLKATA: The Bengal government on Friday urged the Election Commission (EC) to conduct pending bypolls in the state at the earliest, as it gave assurance that all COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to during the process.

Of the seven seats where elections are set to be held, Bhawanipore is the one that is expected to draw significant attention amid speculation that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who faced defeat in Nandigram, may contest bypoll from the constituency, which also happens to be her home turf.

State minister and senior TMC leader Sobhandeb has recently vacated the seat.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government, in its reply to a missive by the EC on the possibility of holding elections to two vacant Rajya Sabha seats at this juncture, has asserted that it was “fully prepared”, official sources said.

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In the same letter, the government also requested the poll panel to conduct the assembly byelections as soon as possible, the sources added.

Earlier, on June 23, the CM, who needs to get elected to the assembly within six months to retain her chair, had told reporters that bypolls due in the state could be held within seven days as the COVID-19 situation in the country is currently “under control”.

Polls were countermanded in Jangipur and Samserganj following the death of candidates due to COVID-19.

In Dinhata and Santipur, the winning BJP nominees quit as MLAs as they wanted to retain parliamentary berths.

In Gosaba, the TMC candidate, who won the elections, succumbed to COVID-19.

Two Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant in the state after Dinesh Trivedi quit the membership of the Upper House in February this year, having switched to the BJP from the TMC, and Manas Bhuniya’s election as an MLA in the March-April Assembly polls.

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