The Calcutta high court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear a petition on holding simultaneous elections to all civic bodies in West Bengal.
The state election commission is expected to take a decision on the schedule of the poll dates after the high court passes its order.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC)-ruled state government wants to hold the civic polls in phases, starting with Kolkata and Howrah on December 19. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved the high court demanding simultaneous elections to all civic bodies.
Elections to 114 civic bodies are pending for more than a year. The TMC controls most of the civic bodies in West Bengal. The terms of the elected boards ended over two years ago, but polls were not held because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state election commission has told the high court that it wants to hold the municipal polls in phases starting with Kolkata and Howrah.
A senior official of the state election commission said the poll panel has told the high court that at least 85% people in Kolkata and around 55% people in Howrah are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and hence, the commission seeks to hold the elections in these two civic bodies first.
Also on Tuesday, governor Jagdeep Dhankhar called on state election commissioner (SEC) Saurabh Das to not become “an extension” of the Mamata Banerjee government, while observing that he has received multiple inputs indicating that the poll panel has conceded its constitutional mandate and authority, and was toeing the state government’s line.
“Cautioned Shri Saurav Das that SEC @MamataOfficial toeing the line of state government and be merely its executing agency, would be an outrage of the Constitution as also unwholesome for the democratic process. It will run down essence and spirit of constitutional provisions in Part IXA,” Dhankhar tweeted.
Responding to Dhankhar’s interaction with the state’s top election official and his public posts, TMC minister Tapas Roy said, “The governor can always give advice to anyone, but he surely knows that the state election commission is an independent body, just like the Election Commission of India.”
Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt