The Indian Election Commission has begun planning for by-elections in seven West Bengal seats, including the prestigious Bhawanipur seat held by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
On Friday, Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab sent a letter to district polls officers in charge of Electoral Mobility Control and VVPAD in all seven polling places.
“During the EVM/VVPAD checks, the CEO instructed the officers that engineers must adhere to the strict COVID-19 protocol.”
He stated that he decided to submit the request for such testing and preparations in accordance with the EC’s instructions.
Elections are scheduled for Jangipur, Samshergunj, Khardha, Bhowanipur, Dinahata, Shantipur, and Goshaba. While TMC and Congress candidates died before the elections in Jangipur and Samshergunj, TMC candidates in Khardha and Gosaba died shortly after the elections after being infected by COVID 19. Following the Lok Sabha elections, two BJP members from Dinahata and Santipur, Jagannath Sarkar and Nisith Pramanik resigned in order to remain in the House. Pramanik was appointed Union Minister.
However, before finalizing the election date, the Commission will hold a meeting with all parties.
Apart from the Banerjee, the elections will be significant for the left and the Congress because it will give them a chance to participate in the assembly, which will be devoid of either party’s representation for the first time since independence. Murshidabad is a well-known Congress stronghold, and two seats will be taken there.