Mamata Banerjee to EC: Covid-19 in check, hold bypolls now

The West Bengal by-polls are due in the constituencies of Jangipur and Shamshergunj (Murshidabad district), Khardaha (North 24 Parganas), Bhabanipur (Kolkata), Dinhata (Coochbehar), Shantipur (Nadia), and Gosaba (South 24 Parganas).

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the Election Commission (EC) should immediately conduct seven pending Assembly by-polls in the state as the Covid-19 pandemic was “completely under control”. Banerjee said the democratic rights of people should not be curtailed, adding that people had the right to cast their votes and elect their representatives.

“An opinion was sought from all political parties. They should not curtail democratic rights. [It’s been] already four months [since the elections got over]. The Covid-19 situation is now under control and they must conduct the by-polls immediately,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

The by-polls are due in the constituencies of Jangipur and Shamshergunj (Murshidabad district), Khardaha (North 24 Parganas), Bhabanipur (Kolkata), Dinhata (Coochbehar), Shantipur (Nadia), and Gosaba (South 24 Parganas).

Mamata Banerjee is likely to contest the Bhabanipur by-poll, having lost a closely contested election in March-May against her former close associate and current Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district. Banerjee has filed a case before the Calcutta High Court challenging the result.

Bhabanipur has been her traditional seat, and it was vacated by veteran Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay shortly after the results were declared on May 2. Banerjee needs to get elected to the Assembly by November 5.

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