EC announces bypoll date for Sept 30, Mamata Banerjee to contest from Bhawanipore

Banerjee has to contest and win an election within 6 months of her swearing-in as CM.

The Election Commission on Saturday announced byelections for four constituencies in the country for September 30, including Bhawanipore Assembly seat in West Bengal, from where the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee will contest. The counting will be held on October 3.

Bypolls in two other seats in West Bengal – Samsergunj and Jangipur – will also be held on the same day. Another seat where bypolls will be held is Peepli in Odisha. However, byelection for 31 other seats have been deferred due to the COVID-19 situation. In Samsergunj and Jangipur, the elections were deferred due to the deaths of the contesting candidates prior to the elections.

“… considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal, it has (been) decided to hold bypoll for AC 159 – Bhabanipur. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19,” the top poll body said. “After taking into consideration the inputs and views of Chief Secretaries of the concerned states, and the respective Chief Electoral Officers, the Commission has decided not to hold bypolls in other 31 Assembly constituencies and 3 Parliamentary constituencies,” it added.

The West Bengal government has been saying that the COVID-19 situation is better than what it was during the Assembly polls in April-May 2021. Banerjee’s party, the Trinamool Congress, won a landslide victory, winning 213 of 294 seats, though she lost the seat she had contested from, Nandigram, by less than 2,000 votes. She later challenged the result in the Calcutta High Court.

For her to remain as the chief minister, Banerjee has to contest from a seat within six months of her swearing in. In May, after election results were announced, Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who had won from Bhawanipore, had resigned. Chattopadhyay, who is the state’s agriculture minister, also has six months to win from another seat to retain his post. He may likely contest from any of the other two seats, though Trinamool Congress is yet to announce it.