Whether Chhatradhar Mahato would be able to campaign for himself in Jhargram is a question that would be determined by Election Commission.
Authorities of Midnapore jail have passed the ball to the court of the EC on Thursday. On Wednesday, additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) in Jhargram Shiekh Mohammed Rejja said in response to an appeal by Mahato that he could campaign provided the jail authorities, or any other authority in the state, allow him to do so.
Mahato’s advocate Kaushik Sinha said: “The court has ruled that there are no legal hassles. Now if the jail and Election Commission authorities give permission, Mahato would campaign in Jhargram before it goes to polls on May 10.”
Soon after the court ruling reached the jail authorities, they sought the advice of ADG and IG Prisons BD Sharma, who in turn forwarded it to the EC for approval. “We are yet to receive any such communication from jail authorities,” said Saibal Barman, joint chief electoral officer of West Bengal.
Mahato filed nomination as an independent from Jhargram assembly constituency, which goes to polls on May 10 in the last phase of Bengal polls. Campaign for the seat ends at 5pm on May 8.
Mahato, 47, former spokesman of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), filed his nomination on April 19. After filing his nomination, Mahato appealed to the locals and intellectuals to campaign for him in Lalgarh and Jhargram.
Poll agent arrested
The election agent of jailed PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato was arrested on Thursday. Hansda, who is accused in a murder case, was arrested when he went to the Binpur police station. “Hansda was wanted in an old murder case and a warrant had recently been issued in his name. We arrested him in the afternoon,” said Praveen Tripathy, Jhargram SP.