The by-election in Bhabanipur Assembly Constituency in West Bengal will be held on September 30, the Election Commission said on Saturday.
The Election Commission also informed that polls will also be held in Samserganj and Jangipur of West Bengal and Pipli (Odisha) on the same date. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 3.
Amid the ongoing political tensions between BJP and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, the announcement by the Election Commission of India has again compelled both the main parties to initiate debate for the by-polls.
The Bhabanipur assembly seat was vacated by the West Bengal agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay in May, making way for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contest from Bhabanipur seat.
Priorly, BJP and TMC have been locking horns where the former reportedly tried to delay by-polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a tweet by the spokesperson of the commission, it read, "Schedule announced to fill casual vacancy and adjourned poll in the Assembly Constituencies - polling date 30.9.21 for bye-election in 159- Bhabanipur AC, 56-Samserganj, 58- Jangipur in WB and also 110-Pipli of Odisha @PIB_India."
Today, the ECI released a press note in this matter. The Commission vide its press note dated May 3, 2021 had deferred the adjourned poll (which was scheduled to be held on May 16, 2021) and extended the period of elections in 110-Pipli Assembly Constituency (AC) of Odisha and 58-Jangipur and 56-Samserganj AC of West Bengal after taking note of lockdown/restrictions under Disaster Management Act, 2005, as issued by NDMA/SDMA.
Further, the Commission deferred the bye-elections in various States/UT, after taking all material facts and inputs of Chief Electoral Officers of various States/UT in view of the pandemic.
"As on date there are three deferred adjourned polls (two in the state of West Bengal and one in the state of Odisha), three vacancies in Parliamentary Constituencies and 32 vacancies in Legislative Assemblies of various States/UT," read the release.
After taking into consideration the inputs and views of the Chief Secretaries of the concerned States and respective Chief Electoral Officers, while the Commission has decided not to hold bye-elections in other 31 Assembly Constituencies and 3 Parliamentary Constituencies and considering the constitutional exigency and special request from State of West Bengal, it has decided to hold bye-election in 159- Bhabanipur AC. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, the Commission has also decided to hold polls in 3 Assembly Constituencies namely 56-Samserganj, 58- Jangipur of West Bengal and 1 Assembly Constituency 110-Pipli of Odisha where the adjourned poll was deferred vide Commission's notification May 4, 2021, as per the schedule given in Annexure- 2. Separate notifications are being issued in this regard.
The candidates/political parties for these 3 ACs have already availed the campaign period from April 29, 2021 to May 3, 2021. In view of this, the Commission has now decided to allow the campaign from September 20, 2021 only in these constituencies.
The Model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect from today onwards in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly constituency going for election.