EC announces bypoll in Bhabanipur assembly seat where WB CM Mamata Banerjee plans to contest

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Bypoll to the Bhabanipur assembly seat in West Bengal, from where Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee plans to contest, would be held on September 30, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.

Polling for three “deferred adjourned” elections — in two assembly seats of West Bengal and one of Odisha — will also be held on September 30.

Elections in these seats — Samserganj and Jangirpur in West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha — could not be held due to various reasons, including the death of candidates during electioneering earlier this year.

Counting on all four seats will take place on October 3.

EC said it has kept “much stricter” norms as an abundant caution to safeguard from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bhabanipur bypoll will allow Mamata Banerjee a chance to become a member of the state legislative assembly.

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Banerjee had moved out of her traditional seat in Kolkata’s Bhabanipur to fight in Nandigram during the Assembly polls earlier this year but lost to his former close aide Suvendu Adhikari who contested on a BJP ticket.

Adhikari is now the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.

After the election results, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, the TMC MLA from Bhabanipur constituency vacated the seat to allow Banerjee to contest from there.

Banerjee had won from Bhabanipur twice since 2011.

According to an Election Commission press note, the West Bengal chief secretary has informed that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the state, by-elections for Bhabanipur, from where CM Mamata Banerjee intends to contest elections, may be conducted.

She has to become a member of the state legislature by November 5.

Referring to its decision to hold assembly polls in Samserganj and Jangipur of West Bengal, and Pipli of Odisha where elections were earlier deferred, EC said since candidates and political parties for these three seats have already “availed” the campaign period from April 29 to May 3 this year, campaigning will only be allowed from September 20 in these seats.

Based on inputs received from states where bypolls are due, EC said it has decided not to hold by-elections in other 31 assembly constituencies and three Parliamentary constituencies in view of the Covid situation, floods and festival season.