HC orders fresh rural poll nomination and voting dates

HC orders fresh rural poll nomination and voting dates

HC orders fresh rural poll nomination and voting dates

"It is a moral defeat for the Trinamool Congress and exposed the disability of the SEC, which failed to uphold its credibility by playing in the hands of the state government".

At around 5.00 p.m., Mr Sourav Das OSD, panchayat department said that the SEC will issue a notification within half an hour and that the nomination will be accepted on Monday.

The decision comes as a major blow to the West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress.

State Election Commission officials are back to their drawing boards after the Calcutta High Court directed the commission to redraw the poll schedule with a provision for a new nomination date for candidates who could not file nominations due to the continuing violence and obstructions from the ruling party.

This means that the date for the panchayat election is likely to change since there has to be a gap of 21 days between the last date of nomination and the first day of polling.

The legal battle between the commission and opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intensified after the election watchdog on 10 April reversed its own decision to extend the window for filing nominations by one day. The SEC, however, withdrew the notification extending the deadline to file nominations to April 10 in the morning after the state government and the ruling Trinamool Congress objected.

The BJP again moved the Supreme Court on April 11 and was directed to approach the high court with its grievances over the deadline for filing nominations.

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As the opposition parties knocked on the doors of the judiciary, Justice Talukdar had on April 12 stayed the Panchayat election process.

However, the top court transferred the case to the Calcutta High Court. Trinamool Congress tried to suppress the voice of democracy.

Alleging that the SEC had acted at the behest of TMC, the CPI (M) had submitted before the court that the withdrawal of the notification extending the date for notification is illegal and stands to be nullified and the election postponed. Prior to the Panchayat Polls, the state witnessed unprecedented violence against throughout the state where political clashes between TMC and the opposition partied became a norm of the day.

However, the court did not entertain or comment upon Opposition's demands for removal of State Election Commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh and conduct of election in the presence of central forces.

The apex court, while refusing to order the deployment of central forces, asked the SEC to ensure a "free and fair election" is conducted.

A senior lawyer himself, Banerjee appeared in-person as the party vice-president, owing to an ongoing ceasework at the high court.

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