Bengal rural poll nomination deadline on April 23, no word on voting dates
Representatives of various political parties met State Election Commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh and discussed their demands for the Panchayat polling process.india Updated: Apr 21, 2018 22:52 IST
The West Bengal state election commission on Saturday announced that fresh nominations for the upcoming panchayat polls can be filed on April 23.
The nominations will be scrutinised on April 25, according to the poll body’s order. Nominations can be withdrawn till April 28, the order stated.
However, the election commission did not mention fresh dates for election. The polls were initially scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5, but opposition parties levelled allegations of violence against the ruling Trinamool Congress and went to court demanding extension of dates for filing of nominations.
Going by the rulebook, votes cannot be cast before May 14 because there has to be a gap of 21 days between the last date of nomination and first day of polling.
The poll body’s order came a day after the Calcutta high court directed that it had to fix a new day for submission of nomination and the poll schedule. Parties expect the poll dates will be announced on Monday.
The poll body did not give any indication of this in its one-page order, which stated nomination papers can be filed between 11 am and 3 pm.
“The polls will turn into a farce if opposition candidates are coerced and forced to withdraw candidature or stopped again from filing their papers on Monday,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.
CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said opposition parties would move the court again if the commission fails to provide security to their candidates. “If candidates cannot contest then it will tantamount to violation of the court’s order by the commission,” he added.
Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “We told the (poll body’s) commissioner that we don’t want polls at the height of summer, during rains or in the Ramzan month.” The ruling party representatives said if necessary the polls can be held on a single day.
BJP leader Mukul Roy alleged that the ruling party was putting pressure on the commissioner to hold polls on a single day.
The election commission had invited 10 political parties on Saturday to discuss the new date for filing nominations.