West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday informed the State Election Commission that the Raj Bhavan also wanted simultaneous elections in all the municipal areas of the state.
The commission reminded Dhankhar of its special powers. “Special section of the Election Commission. Why is the State Election Commission not implementing it?” the governor asked.
State Election Commissioner Sourav Das spoke to Dhankhar for about an hour at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday. The governor informed the election commissioner that the panel should play a neutral, independent and effective role and should never think of it as an extended part of the state government.
Dhankhar reiterated the Opposition’s call for a by-election in all the municipalities of the state. The state commission said that this could have an impact on the speed of vaccination. “The biggest problem is that the State Election Commission does not have as many EVM machines as it needs to hold elections simultaneously in all the municipal areas of the state. That is why it is not possible to hold elections in all the municipal areas of the state at the moment,” Das said.
Bengal wants to hold pre-polls in Howrah and Kolkata on December 19. The state government’s argument in the affidavit in the context of the public interest litigation filed by the BJP is that 85 percent second dose vaccination has been completed in Kolkata. In Howrah, 55 percent people have been vaccinated with the second dose. Therefore, the state wants to vote for these two municipalities in the first round. After that, the state government and the State Election Commission will conduct voting later in other areas.
The BJP recently filed a case in the Calcutta High Court, stating why the state government only wants to hold a referendum in Kolkata and Howrah? Why the rest of the municipalities will not vote now? The case came up in the court of the Chief Justice on November 16.
During the hearing, the lawyer of the commission informed the Calcutta High Court that a case is already pending regarding the vote. Therefore, the commission will not issue any notification of voting during the proceedings. The court then directed the state and State Election Commission to submit affidavits.