BJP candidate for Bhabanipur Priyanka Tibrewal during her election campaign for the upcoming bypoll, in Kolkata on Wednesday. (ANI)
BJP candidate for Bhabanipur Priyanka Tibrewal during her election campaign for the upcoming bypoll, in Kolkata on Wednesday. (ANI)

Bhabanipur bypoll: BJP candidate gets EC notice for Covid norms violation

The TMC had lodged a complaint on Tuesdaywith the EC that Tibrewal had violated the Covid-19 protocols as a large number of BJP workers and leaders had accompanied her when she went to file her nomination on Monday
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
UPDATED ON SEP 16, 2021 02:37 AM IST

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Priyanka Tibrewal, who is contesting against West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in the Bhabanipur bypolls, for allegedly violating Covid-19 safety norms issued by the poll panel. Tibrewal, however, rubbished the allegations.

The TMC had lodged a complaint on Tuesdaywith the ECI that Tibrewal had violated the Covid-19 protocols as a large number of BJP workers and leaders had accompanied her when she went to file her nomination on Monday.

In view of the pandemic situation, the ECI had banned public meetings and processions before and after filing of nomination, while only three vehicles were permitted within 100 metres of the returning officer’s office where the nomination is filed.

The bypolls are due to be held on September 30 and the counting of votes will take place on October 3.

“I will reply to the ECI. Only Suvendu Adhikari was with me in my car. Apart from me there were security personnel in another vehicle. Dinesh Trivedi and Arjun Singh didn’t come with me and had reached the Returning Officer ‘s (RO’s) office directly. I cannot control vehicles or two wheelers which were plying on the road. That is the jurisdiction of the police. Why did they allow?” said Tibrewal.

Meanwhile, the BJP moved the EC on Wednesday in Delhi seeking more additional central forces in Bhabanipur apprehending violence and rigging. The poll panel has already deployed 15 companies of central forces.

Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday offered prayers in a Gurudwara in Bhabanipur. With large political gatherings prohibited because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the state government, both the BJP and the ruling TMC are relying mostly on door-to-door campaigns and their public relations skills for the upcoming bypolls.

“Every day Rujira (wife of Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee) comes to this Gurudwara and even goes to Kalighat temple to offer prayers. She also reads out the scriptures from the Guru Granth Sahib to her daughter. I have visited this Gurudwara many times as it soothes my mind. So we already have a relation with you (Sikh community). I would love to visit the Golden Temple once,” Banerjee said while extending her support once again to ongoing farmers’ protests against the three contentious farm bills.

The constituency in the heart of south Kolkata has 206,389 electors out of which 95,143 are female voters, which comes to around 46%. It has a sizeable population of Sikhs and Gujaratis. However, the area is dominated by middle-class Bengalis.

While the Congress has already decided not to field any candidate the BJP’s unit in West Bengal the Left Front has announced the name of Srijib Biswas, an advocate, from Bhabanipur.

In the April-May 2021 polls, nine candidates contested from Bhabanipur out of which deposit of seven candidates were forfeited. The fight was primarily between the TMC and BJP. Banerjee has to win this bypoll to retain her chief minister’s post after having lost to BJP’s Suvendu Aadhikari in Nandigram in the assembly elections held earlier this year.

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