Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea seeking to ensure free, fair elections in Bengal, security for opposition
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking "free and fair" assembly elections in West Bengal as well as security for opposition leaders in the state, news agency ANI reported. A public interest litigation (PIL) in this regard was filed in the top court by on behalf of petitioner Puneet Kaur Dhanda in December last year, according to Live Law.
In his plea, the petitioner also sought the issuance of directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to submit a detailed report regarding "bogus voters" in West Bengal, where assembly elections will take place in April-May, along with those in Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Union territory of Puducherry.
In the build-up to assembly polls in West Bengal, there have been several instances of violence between workers of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) and those belonging to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Just days before the PIL was filed in the top court, a convoy of BJP national president JP Nadda was attacked, allegedly by TMC supporters. Nadda escaped unharmed but the party’s state in-charge, Kailash Vijayvargiya, sustained injuries, as a result of which his security was enhanced by the Centre, where the BJP is in power. The incident also triggered a tussle between the Centre and the state government.
On January 18, violence once again broke out at the BJP’s roadshow in Kolkata’s Tollygunge area. The roadshow was being held by the state BJP chief and Lok Sabha MP Dilip Ghosh, and TMC rebel Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the party last December.
The BJP, after its impressive performance in West Bengal in 2019’s general elections, is aiming at forming its maiden government in the state. Banerjee, who first became the chief minister in 2011 and is currently in her second term, is looking for five more years in office.
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- The ECI around 4:30 pm on Friday announced the poll dates for four states, including West Bengal, and the UT of Puducherry. With the announcement of the polls the MCC came into force barring any new announcements by the government.
- The model code of conduct, which comes into effect immediately after poll dates are announced by the Election Commission, prohibits governments from making any welfare announcements