Filing of fresh nominations for the panchayat elections in West Bengal will be held for a day tomorrow following a Calcutta High Court order directing the State Election Commission (SEC) to extend the date. The SEC has issued a fresh notification announcing April 23 as the extended date for the filing of nominations for the three-tier panchayat elections in the state. The dates for the polls, which were earlier scheduled on May 1, 3 and 5, have, however, not been declared by the commission in its new notification issued yesterday. Scrutiny of the nominations received tomorrow will be held on April 25 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is April 28, the notification said.
The filing of nominations will take place from 11 am to 3 pm, according to the commission. The opposition parties had alleged widespread violence by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) during the nomination process. The TMC, on the other hand, had blamed the BJP for vitiating peace in some parts of the state in the run up to the local body elections. At least two persons died and many others were injured in clashes during the nomination process which began earlier this month. In line with the high court order, the SEC yesterday held meetings with political parties before issuing the notification.
The high court had on Friday quashed the SEC’s April 10 order cancelling extension of the deadline for filing nominations and directed the commission to issue a fresh notification after consultations with the state authorities and other stakeholders. Justice Subrata Talukdar had directed the commission to “reschedule the further dates in the election process as per statutory framework” and carry it forward from the extended date of filing nominations. The high court had earlier stayed the election process on petitions by the BJP, the CPI(M) and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), challenging the SEC’s withdrawal of the notification extending the date for filing nominations by a day.
The nomination process for the panchayat polls ended on April 9, but it was extended by a day by the SEC following a Supreme Court order on petitions alleging that candidates backed by opposition parties were prevented from filing nominations. The West Bengal government and the TMC had objected to the extension by the SEC, which had cited a Supreme Court direction to “allay apprehensions of intending candidates” in its notification extending the nomination process by a day. The notification was withdrawn by the SEC on April 10 following the objections by the state government and the TMC. The high court had stayed the election process on April 12 on petitions by the opposition parties challenging the SEC’s withdrawal of its notification.