The Election Commission announced on Saturday it will hold by-polls in three assembly constituencies of West Bengal, including the Bhabanipur seat where chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee intends to contest, and one seat in Odisha on September 30. “While the commission has decided not to hold bye-elections in other 31 Assembly Constituencies and three Parliamentary constituencies (across India), considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal, it has decided to hold bye-election in 159-Bhabanipur AC,” the Election Commission said.
The Election Commission said in a statement that the by-elections will also be held in Samsherganj and Jangirpur of West Bengal and Pipli in Odisha. Counting of votes will be held on October 3.
Here’s what the crucial by-election means for Mamata Banerjee:
1. The by-poll on the Bhabanipur seat in West Bengal will give Mamata Banerjee a chance to become a member of the state assembly.
2. She needs to win from any assembly seat within November 5 if she has to continue as the chief minister of West Bengal.
3. Mamata Banerjee fought from Nandigram during the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections but lost to her former close aide Suvendhu Adhikari, who contested on a BJP ticket.
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4. She lost by a narrow margin of 1,956 votes to former TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari. Adhikari is now the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal assembly.
5. Mamata Banerjee won from Bhabanipur in 2011 and 2016.
6. Mamata’s party, the Trinamool Congress, has been mounting pressure on the ECI to hold the polls saying that the Covid situation in the state has been under control.
7. On the other hand, the BJP is against holding polls citing law and order problems and post-poll violence.
8. The Election Commission has said in a press note that the West Bengal chief secretary has informed that bye-elections for Bhabanipur, from where CM Mamata Banerjee intends to contest elections, may be conducted in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid a vacuum in the state.
9. West Bengal’s agriculture minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay resigned from the state assembly in May so that Banerjee can once again contest the seat she represented twice since 2011. Chattopadhyay won from the Bhabanipur constituency in south Kolkata in the recent polls.
10. Elections to the Samsherganj and Jangipur constituencies in West Bengal will be held after polling was deferred in April due to the death of the candidates from these seats.