The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal Election Commission to issue fresh dates for the filing of nomination for the panchayat polls, reported ANI. The court asked the election commission to discuss the new date with the state before announcing it.

This means that the date for the panchayat election is likely to change since there has to be a gap of 21 days between the last date of nomination and the first day of polling. As of now, elections to the three-tier local body structure – zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, and gram panchayats – are scheduled for May 1, 3 and 5. The results will be declared on May 8.

On April 12, the High Court had stayed all panchayat election processes and asked the state election commission to file a status report in the case. On April 16, the court extended the stay.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and some other Opposition candidates have accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of stopping them from filing nominations. Several clashes were reported between the BJP and Trinamool Congress workers while candidates were filing nomination papers for the elections.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Rabin Deb said that they are happy with the court order, reported The Hindu. The BJP also welcomed the ruling. “It is a historic verdict,” Pratap Banerjee, the general secretary of the party’s Bengal unit, told the Hindustan Times. “The court has come forward to help the democratic process that is in peril in Bengal. It is a victory for the people who did not get any help from the police to file nomination.”