The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday moved the Calcutta high court, complaining against the Mamata Banerjee government for not taking steps for holding elections to 17 municipalities that were supposed to be held by end-June.
This is the second legal tussle between state election commissioner, Mira Pande, and chief minister Banerjee after the former took the government to the courts in 2013 over the panchayat polls. The apex court finally settled the matter in favour of the poll panel.
Justice Soumitra Pal will hear the SEC's petition filed via advocate Amrita Pandey on June 25.
The SEC had formally requested the state government to hold the civic polls preferably on June 25. "However, the state government had not given any response so far," the petition said. Of the 17 civic bodies, BJP is seen to have leads in Asansol, Siliguri, Kulti and Islampur.
Incidentally, on Monday, the state BJP unit also wrote to governor MK Narayanan to ask Banerjee government to take immediate steps for holding elections in 17 municipalities.
"The BJP will also intervene in the SEC's petition to support it at the time of hearing," said BJP's advocate Kaushik Chanda, who is also the head of the party's legal cell in Bengal.
"The BJP had fared pretty well in a number of seats in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls and that is why the chief minister Mamata Banerjee is avoiding polls in 17 municipalities, apprehending that her Trinamool congress party might be defeated by the BJP," Chanda claimed.
Besides, the civic polls, there are at least 500 seats which had fallen vacant in different panchayats, including the panchayats under North Bengal and Siliguri districts.