SEC extends panchayat poll nomination filing by a day

BJP Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee and others during a rally in front of State Election Commission office in Kolkata on Tuesday ahead of upcoming West Bengal panchayat elections

SEC extends panchayat poll nomination filing by a day

All election related procedures including withdrawal of nominations and their scrutiny have been stayed till 16th April.

"The Supreme Court gave us the liberty to approach it again in case we are not satisfied with the high court order", said Bhattacharyya. Notably, the polling for the three-phased elections is slated to be held on May 1, 3 and 5 while the counting of vote has been scheduled for May 8. But both the courts have so far declined to interfere upholding the commission's autonomy in dealing with elections while asking opposition parties to take their complaints to the commission.

The High Court also said it might consider deferring the election date if it finds that the state election commission did not take enough steps for ensuring a free and fair election.

Kalyan Banerjee, senior advocate of Calcutta High Court representing the state government, said, "The court has fined BJP because of my complaint that it was doing a suppression of facts". The original period for filing of nominations was between April 2 and 9. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said the ruling was a blow to the ruling Trinamool Congress. At this, Justice Agarwal, heading the bench, remarked: "If it (the views of the Supreme Court) carried weight, then the state election commission would not have (had) withdrawn the notification". Thousands of opposition party candidates could not file their nominations due to violence from the Trinamool Congress party.

Between April 9 and April 11, the Supreme Court and the High Court issued a number of orders in relation to panchayat polls in the State. But at the same time, it did not ask the commission to extend the time, which meant it did not in any manner alter the course of the election process.

The party alleged that opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress had joined forces to launch an attack on the rally.

The CPI (M)-led Left Front has called for a six-hour strike in West Bengal tomorrow in protest against the pre-poll violence in the state.

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