The Bhabanipur bypoll, where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a contestant, won’t be cancelled, the Calcutta High Court ruled today, dismissing a plea against the bypoll. The court added that the bypoll will be held as planned on Thursday.
A PIL had questioned the Election Commission’s contention of a “constitutional exigency” for holding by-election to Bhabanipur assembly seat in Kolkata.
The Election Commission, on its part, had said the petitioner is attempting to mischaracterise the meaning of the term constitutional exigency, underscoring that the same does not mean an attempt to influence voters.
West Bengal government had on September 13 submitted before the court that the chief secretary had only written to the Commission requesting that the by-election be held.
The court today termed the West Bengal chief Secretary’s letter urging the poll body to hold the bypoll as “inappropriate”.
Bypoll to Bhabanipur seat, earlier represented by Ms Banerjee in 2011 and 2016, was necessitated following the resignation of TMC MLA Sovandeb Chattopadhyay to facilitate the party supremo’s election to the assembly.
Mamata Banerjee will be up against BJP’s greenhorn Priyanka Tibrewal, a 41-year-old Calcutta High Court lawyer.
Ms Banerjee, who took charge as Chief Minister for the third time after the Trinamool Congress’s mega victory in the state election, needs to win the Bhabanipur by-poll as an MLA to retain the top post. The results will be out on October 3.
According to the Constitution, a person has to get elected to the legislature within six months of taking oath as a minister.
Mamata Banerjee had lost to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram in the March-April Assembly polls.
The Bhabanipur bypoll is seen as extremely critical for the BJP, which is heavily invested in defeating Mamata Banerjee after it failed to oust her in the state polls.