A delegation of Mamata Banerjee‘s party will meet the Election Commission on Friday afternoon to demand bypolls. Trinamool Congress general secretary said that the West Bengal byelections have been pending, and they had approached the EC last month too. Among the seven seats due for bypolls, the chief minister herself is expected to contest from Bhawanipur to retain the top post.
Banerjee had fought polls against aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram, and lost by a small margin. However, she was still chosen as the chief minister by her party. Thus, necessitating her to get elected by the people within six months of appointment (which is November).
According to Article 164(4) of the Constitution, “A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.”
On the contrary, Adhikari has said that when trains can’t be resumed considering the Covid-19 situation in the state, bypolls too should not be held.
Earlier, around mid-July, a TMC delegation, including Sukhendu Shekhar and Mohua Moitra, had visited Election Commission in Delhi with the same demand. The buzz in the political circuit is that the BJP does not want this byelections now because of Mamata Banerjee’s seat, while the Trinamool Congress has been pushing through for the same reason.
TMC insiders say that when daily caseload of Covid-19 was going above 22,000 then elections were taking place. And now, when the tally in around 900, conducting polls shouldn’t be a problem.
While TMC has often accused the EC of being “partial”, sources in the poll body said that preparation for seven byelection seats is underway, “but nothing can be said about the date of voting”.