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Phenomenon of candidates getting elected unopposed a trend in several states: Bengal SEC to SC

Over 19,000 seats were won unopposed by the Trinamool Congress candidates, the Supreme Court has been told.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2018 23:42 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
candidates getting elected unopposed,Bengal state election commission,Mamata Banerjee government
The phenomenon of several panchayat seats being won unopposed was not confined to West Bengal alone, but was prevalent in other states too, the state election commission and the Mamata Banerjee government informed the Supreme Court on Monday.(PTI File Photo)

The phenomenon of several panchayat seats being won unopposed was not confined to West Bengal alone, but was prevalent in other states too, the state election commission and the Mamata Banerjee government informed the Supreme Court on Monday.

The state and the poll panel made their submission before a bench led by chief justice Dipak Misra, which is hearing a batch of petitions filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bharatiya Janata Party and some individuals alleging their candidates were intimidated to prevent them from filing their nomination papers in the recently concluded Panchayat elections.

Over 19,000 seats were won unopposed by the Trinamool Congress candidates, the court has been told. Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud are also members of the bench.

Senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, appearing for the state election body, said the panel had received only 1,600 complaints of alleged intimidation. He was responding to q question by justice Chandrachud as to whether the commission had conducted any exercise to verify whether any person had been prevented from filing nomination papers.

“The phenomenon of candidates getting elected unopposed is there even in states likes Sikkim, Jharkhand other states also,” Sharan said.

But the bench felt that complaints may not have been lodged out of fear. Senior advocate Vikas Singh quoted figures to point out how in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls, 67% of candidates won without a contest. He urged the court to modify its interim order that has restrained the state commission from issuing a notification of those constituencies that were won unopposed. Singh said the order has deprived the panchayats of their various grants and funds.

Senior advocate PS Patwalia , appearing for the BJP, told the court that it must take note of the fact that all the 19,287 candidates declared unopposed belonged to the ruling Trinamool Congress. “If the situation is happening in five other states, solution is not to allow it here (Bengal), but put an end to it in all other states,” Patwalia argued.

The arguments would continue on Tuesday.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 23:42 IST