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Didi got her way, Election Commission announce by-election from Bhabanipur

New Delhi – After taking into consideration the inputs and views of the Chief Secretaries of the concerned States and respective Chief Electoral Officers, while the Election Commission has decided not to hold bye-elections in other 31 Assembly Constituencies and 3 Parliamentary Constituencies.

Considering the constitutional exigency and special request from State of West Bengal, Election Commission has decided to hold bye-election in 159- Bhabanipur assembly constituency. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Election Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19 pandemic

As on date there are three deferred adjourned polls, two in the state of West Bengal and one in the state of Odisha, three vacancies in Parliamentary Constituencies and 32 vacancies in Legislative Assemblies of various States/UT.

In order to assess the feasibility of holding bye-elections in various States/UT, a meeting was held by Election Commission through video conferencing on September 1 with Chief Secretaries, senior officers from the department of Health and Home Affairs, DGPs from the concerned States/UT and Chief Electoral Officers from concerned States/UT. The Chief Secretaries/Chief Electoral Officers shared their inputs, constraints, issues and challenges in conducting bye-elections in their States/UT in view of COVID-19 pandemic, flood situation and festivals in near future and so on. The Chief Secretaries from the concerned poll going States have also sent their views and inputs in writing.

The Chief Secretaries of States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Adviser of UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, brought to the notice of the Commission the constraints related to flood situations, festivals and pandemic. They suggested that it would be advisable to have bye-elections after the end of festival season.

Besides these, some states have also brought to the notice of the Election Commission that Government of India, various research institutions, technical expert committees and professionals have predicted the possibility of third wave of COVID-19 October onwards. MHA has also issued detailed instructions on prevention of COVID-19 on August 28, 2021.

The Chief Secretary, Odisha also informed that COVID situation is under control and poll can be held. The Chief Secretary West Bengal informed that COVID-19 situation is fully under control. He also brought to the notice that the flood situation in the state has not affected the poll bound Assembly Constituencies and the State is fully geared up to hold the elections. He also cited that under Article 164(4) of the Constitution of India, a Minister who is not a member of the Legislature of the State for a period of six consecutive months shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister and there will be a constitutional crisis and vacuum in the top executive posts in the Government unless elections are held immediately. He has also informed that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid vacuum in the state, bye-elections for 159- Bhabanipur, Kolkata from where Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister intends to contest elections may be conducted.

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