New Delhi: Amid the ongoing surge in Covid cases, the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) on Saturday postponed the elections to four civic bodies by three weeks.
As per the poll panel notification, the municipal elections to the four civic bodies – Asansol, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and Chandannagar – will now be held on February 12 instead of January 22.
The development comes after the Calcutta High Court on Friday had asked the State Election Commission to consider deferring the civic body polls by four to six weeks in the wake of the spike in Covid cases. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Ajay Kumar Mukherjee had also told the commission to take a call on the matter within a period of 48 hours.
Elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation were held on December 19. Voting for the four civic bodies was earlier slated on January 22 and counting was to be done on January 25. However, with the soaring Covid cases across the state, a petition was filed in the high court seeking to postpone the elections.
With the revised polling dates, the new date for counting is yet to declared. A senior poll panel official said that the counting may be done on February 15.
Hailing the decision of the poll panel, TMC MP Saugata Roy said that they welcome the Election Commission’s decision. The state government has no objection if the elections are postponed keeping the public safety in mind, he added.
Thanking the Election Commission, BJP state chief Sukanta Majumdar, said that amid an alarming surge in Covid cases, conducting a free and fair election is out of the question. Many voters would be scared to go to the polling booths in this situation. The Calcutta high court directed the poll panel to postpone the polls by four to six weeks. It has now been postponed by three weeks, said Majumdar.