Election Commission writes to political parties about criminal antecedents of candidates

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Top officials of the Election Commission on Wednesday took stock of the situation in various states, including West Bengal, where Lok Sabha and assembly by-polls are due, as part of an exercise to allow the poll panel to take an informed decision on holding the democratic exercise.

Sources aware of the meeting said the idea was to know about the issues and challenges being faced by various states due to the coronavirus pandemic, floods and other issues.

They were also asked about local festivals, holidays as well as the law and order situation.

In some states, panchayat polls are in progress, the sources pointed out adding that details of events that result in large gatherings were also sought.

Seven assembly seats are due to go to polls in West Bengal.

These include two seats where polls were deferred during the assembly elections in the state following the death of candidates.

Five other bypolls are due in the state due to the death or resignation of sitting MLAs.

The ruling Trinamool Congress is keen on an early bypoll schedule.

Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee lost from Nandigram in the assembly elections and needs to get elected as a member of the state legislative assembly by November 5.

Besides West Bengal, bypolls are due in at least three Lok Sabha and eight assembly seats in other states and UTs.

According to an EC statement of May 5, there were notified three vacancies in parliamentary constituencies of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh) and Mandi (Himachal Pradesh).

Also, there were eight vacancies in assembly constituencies of Kalka and Ellenabad in Haryana, Vallabhnagar in Rajasthan, Sindgi in Karnataka, Rajabala and Mawryngkneng in Meghalaya, Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh and Badvel in Andhra Pradesh.

On May 5, the poll panel had decided to defer bypolls in these three Lok Sabha and eight assembly seats due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.