Kolkata: By-elections in Bhabanipur — where Mamata Banerjee is set to contest to remain chief minister — and two other assembly constituencies in West Bengal and one in Odisha will be held on September 30, the Election Commission announced Saturday. Votes will be counted on October 3.
CM Banerjee has to fight and win this bypoll if she has to become a member of the state legislative assembly, a constitutional requirement for any unelected representative within six months of assuming office as a minister.
Bhabanipur has traditionally been Banerjee’s seat , but she moved out to Nandigram in the recent Assembly polls to take on her former close aide Suvendhu Adhikari who contested on a BJP ticket. She lost by a narrow margin even as her Trinamool Congress won a landslide. Adhikari is now the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.
The Bhabanipur seat was won by Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who soon resigned to allow CM Banerjee to contest. Chattopadhyay, who is now the the state agriculture minister, must contest and win another seat by November to remain minister.
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The announcement will come has a big relief for the Trinamool Congress which was getting apprehensive that the EC would not hold byelections on time citing Covid restrictions.
Bypolls will also be held in Samserganj and Jangirpur of West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha on September 30, the EC said in a statement . Counting of votes for all the seats will be held on October 3.
According to the Election Commission press note, the West Bengal chief secretary has informed that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the state, bye-elections for Bhabanipur may be conducted.
“While the commission has decided not to hold bye-elections in other 31 Assembly Constituencies and three Parliamentary constituencies (across India), considering the constitutional exigency and special request from state of West Bengal, it has decided to hold bye-election in 159-Bhabanipur AC,” it said.