With the Trinamool Congress approaching the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday for conducting the pending bypolls in the state, the possibility of an early election cannot be ruled out. According to the rules, Mamata Banerjee who is still not an elected member of the Assembly, will have to become an elected member before November 2 if she is supposed to continue as the chief minister of the state.
According to an announcement made by the party, a five-member delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs including Sougata Roy, Jwahar Sircar, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sajda Ahmed and Mohua Moitra will meet the election commissioner at 3.15 p.m. on Thursday. They will again ask the commission to conduct the polls in the state.
Earlier five MPs led by the leader of the party in Parliament Sudip Bandopadhyay met the Chief Election Commissioner in July this year and urged him to conduct the pending bypolls in the state. Bandopadhyay had informed that the ECI has assured them of conducting the polls then but even after more than one month nothing has been done in that regard.
"In October elections are impossible as there is Durga puja followed by several other festivals and in that case the ECI has only the month of September to conduct the election. The Covid situation in the state is well under control and we have been pressing for long for the bypolls. We have even approached the ECI and requested them to conduct polls but nothing has been done so far," a senior party leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
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As per ECI rules, elections can be conducted on the 24th day after the announcement of the polling dates. Generally, the commission retains 10 days for taking the preparatory steps and the candidates get 14 days of time to campaign. Sources also said that even a large section within the commission is willing to complete the poll process by the end of September. Getting government officers and staff for the purpose of elections will be extremely difficult during the festive month of October.
The results for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections were announced on May 2. As Mamata Banerjee who contested from Nandigram in East Midnapore was defeated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari she will have to get elected within six months after the announcements of the results that ends on November 2. Sovondeb Chattopadhyay has already resigned from Rashbehari Assembly constituency making room for Mamata Banerjee to contest from the constituency. Now it all depends on the ECI to announce the polls.
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"Conducting elections during the festive month of October is virtually impossible. So, by all means the polls will have to be concluded by September. But one should remember that for the Assembly bypolls only ECI can say the final word. If the ECI decides to postpone the polls for any reason, neither any state government nor any political party will be in a position to do anything. But since the impact of Covid-19 in the state is much less now, we can expect the ECI to complete the election process by September," a senior party leader said.