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HC Not Happy With ECI Affidavit

high court

Kolkata (The Hawk): The Calcutta High Court is not happy with the affidavit filed by Election Commission of India (ECI) over Bhabanipur bypoll issue.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the HC challenging the decision of the EC to expedite the by-election in Bhabanipur, from where chief minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting.

According to court sources, when the acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, Rajesh Bindal enquired about the approximate cost incurred in a bypoll, CPI(M) leader and senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee said that the figure is close to Rs 3cr.

Bhattacharya, appearing for the petitioner, also contended before the Bench that such an affidavit must not be taken on record.

Referring to the ECI, the court said that what sort of ‘constitutional crisis’ would have happened if the permission to bypoll was denied?

The West Bengal chief secretary HK Diwedi had earlier, at a virtual meeting with the ECI officials, claimed that there would be a constitutional crisis if the bypoll of Bhabanipur constituency is not held on time. He even had written a letter to them on the same.

Following this, the Election Commission had issued a notification on September 6 stipulating that the by-election would be conducted on September 30.

A bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj on Friday came down heavily on the Election Commission for filing the affidavit in an incorrect format.

“There has been an elected legislator from the Bhabanipur constituency and then he has resigned from the post. The ECI should come out clear about their intentions of allowing bypoll in only Bhabanipur seat during the pandemic,” the judge reportedly asked.

The next hearing of this case is on Monday.

According to poll analysts, the verdict of the Calcutta High Court can be a ‘game changer’.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who visited Kolkata on Friday, said that the Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s “pride” has made her believe that she can win from any constituency in Bengal.

“The pride of Mamata Banerjee was broken when she lost in Nandigram. She thought she could win from any seat and now being helpless, has returned to Bhabanipur, which she had earlier overlooked,” said Irani.

The Union minister also claimed that the TMC chief’s urge to get votes from a special community is the ‘constitutional crisis’.

She asked the voters to vote ‘wisely’.