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Kolkata civic body to go for polls on Dec 19: State EC

 
KMC

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): The State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday issued a notification stating that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections will be held on December 19, as planned earlier.

The counting of votes in the 144 wards of the civic body will be held on December 21 and the election process completed by December 22, it said.

Nominations can be filed from today (November 25) and the last date of filing nominations is December 1 and the repolling, if needed, would be done on December 20.

There are estimated 40.5 lakh voters for the 385 consolidated booths.

With this notification the model code of conduct too has set in, which says that there cannot be any big gathering at one place, while the silent zone will be 72 hours before polling day, informed the election commission.    

“The KMC elections will be held on December 19 and the counting will take place on December 21. From today onwards, the Model Code of Conduct is implemented. We have issued the notification,” said State Election Commissioner Saurav Das.

It is understood that the elections will be held with state armed police with a few central forces at certain places.

The ruling Trinamool congress, which has been gunning for polls in Kolkata and Howrah, simultaneously, may announce the list of candidates on Friday. But the main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still undecided on announcing their candidates.

The state BJP leaders want the preliminary vote to be scrapped by the Calcutta High Court. They have decided to keep an eye on what the court says on coming Monday, when the high court will hear the case again.

Though the tenure of 112 municipalities and corporations in the state have expired, the state is considering civic polls only in Kolkata and Howrah. The BJP has already gone to court with the decision. The party is demanding that voting be held together in all the civic bodies. The court did not issue any stay after hearing the case on Wednesday and the next hearing is on Monday but the commission has gone ahead with their announcement of polling day on Thursday.

Bengal BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said on Thursday, “We find the court’s position incomprehensible. We will wait till Monday to see what the court has to say.”

If the saffron camp will publish the list of candidates before the court ruling, Bhattacharya said, “The list of candidates will be published in due course. Legal issues are also being worked out. If needed, we may go to higher court on this.”

Bhattacharya added that the BJP will not avoid the democratic process rather take part in it.

The state government has communicated to the state election commission that it plans to complete elections in all the pending civic bodies by April, next year. They are pressing for Kolkata Municipal Corporation first as it has the best health care facilities and will gradually conduct elections in the rest of them.

State transport minister Firhad Hakim said that the party is ready for the elections as “We do good work throughout the year and do not depend on last minute exam preparations”.