Verdict on Bengal rural polls today

Verdict on Bengal rural polls today

In the afternoon, Justice Subrata Talukdar ordered that fresh dates have to be declared by the state poll panel in consultation with the state government after observing that it would not be possible to start the rural polls on May 1. The Trinamool MP will place his arguments again on Wednesday.

The fact remains that courts - Supreme Court and the high court - didn't intervene in the election process for the first 10 days, right from the election notification on March 31 to April 9, the last day of filing nominations.

Though the court usually does not interfere with the election process, but as there has to be three weeks gap between the filing of nominations and poll dates, the court had to ask the commission to declare new dates. "It is a victory for the people who did not get any help from the police to file nomination", said Pratap Banerjee, general secretary of the Bengal unit of BJP. The Trinamool Congress, which wants a larger role in national politics, wants to retain its hold over the state's grassroots-level politics, while the BJP, fast emerging as Bengal's main Opposition party, is keen to expand its footprint.

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Justice Talukdar wanted to know from Banerjee why the Supreme Court, on April 11, had sent the petitioners back to high court if the court had no jurisdiction on taking up the matter. The apex court didn't pass any order.

Ghosh told THE WEEK, "By asking the commission to order fresh dates and extending the date of nominations by another day, the court has exposed the commission, which works under the pressure of the state government. The election commissioner should not act in a partisan way", said Deb.

The verdict was given after the bench heard petitions of the opposition parties which had accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of resorting to violence to hinder the filing of nominations by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left and Congress.

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"The High Court has dismissed their prayer for halting the election".

Congress welcomed the court order, but said "it does not mean the end of violence".

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