Bye-polls for the Bhabanipur constituency will be held on September 30, the Election Commission of India announced on Saturday. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is set to contest the bye-poll from Bhabanipur.
The Election Commission said that it made the decision considering the “constitutional exigency and special request” from the West Bengal government.
While Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress registered a landslide victory in the state Assembly polls in May, winning 213 of the 294 seats, the party chief lost the Nandigram seat to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari.
According to Article 164(4) of the Constitution, individuals can take oath as a minister even if they are not MLAs, but will have to get elected within a period of six months after being sworn in. Banerjee took oath as the chief minister on May 5.
As she needs to get elected to continue as the chief minister, Banerjee had decided to contest from Bhabanipur constituency. To facilitate this, senior Trinamool Congress leader Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who won the constituency, resigned as an MLA.
Banerjee had won the Bhabanipur seat in the 2011 and 2016 Assembly elections. However, in this year’s polls, she had pitched herself from the Nandigram seat in an apparent bid to challenge Adhikari, who had defected to the BJP ahead of the polls.
Banerjee lost to Adhikari by a margin of 1,956 votes, though she alleged fraud in vote counting.
On Saturday, the election commission said that votes for the Bhabanipur seat will be counted on October 3. The last date for nominations is September 13. The last date to withdraw candidacy is September 16.
The poll body also said that elections for the Samserganj and Jangipur seats in West Bengal and the Pipli constituency in Odisha will also be held on September 30. The results too will be announced on October 3.
However, the Election Commission postponed the bye-polls for 31 other constituencies in view of the coronavirus situation.
The poll panel said that the Covid-19 guidelines should be strictly implemented in constituencies going for the polls. The Model Code of Conduct is in effect in these seats.