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Be ‘non-partisan’, hold civic polls together in state: Dhankhar to SEC

“SEC @MamataOfficial was categorically indicated that its authority of exercising “superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Municipalities” is in no manner qualified or diluted by any state law,”

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

After facing heat from the Opposition parties for not holding elections for all the 112 municipalities together, governor Jagdeep Dhankhar today emphasised on holding simultaneous elections. State Election Commissioner Sourav Das today held an hourlong meeting with Dhankhar at Raj Bhawan.

According to sources, Dhankhar questioned why elections for all the municipalities were not being held together and asked the commission “to be non-partisan” and reminded that it was “not an extension of the government”.

“During hour long meeting with WB State Election Commissioner @MamataOfficial Shri Sourav Das, Governor Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar emphasised that SEC in its authority was at par with the ECI and it should be non partisan, independent and effective and not extension of govt,” Dhankhar tweeted.

“SEC @MamataOfficial was categorically indicated that its authority of exercising “superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Municipalities” is in no manner qualified or diluted by any state law,” he posted.

The issue of holding simultaneous elections was raised by the Opposition parties at the all-party meeting convened by the SEC yesterday. The SEC had informed the Calcutta High Court on Monday that Kolkata and Howrah were selected for holding polls first as they had the highest percentage of fully vaccinated population.

In Kolkata, 75 per cent of people above 18 years were vaccinated and for Howrah it was 55 per cent. Sources said that the commission does not have an adequate number of EVMs for conducting elections for all the municipalities. The commission has decided to hold polls in Kolkata and Howrah on 19 December and elections in the remaining municipalities would be held in phases.

Meanwhile, conducting elections in Howrah along with Kolkata municipality has turned uncertain as the amendment to the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act to separate Bally Municipality is yet to receive Dhankhar’s nod till this afternoon. The poll notification for the two districts would be issued after the High Court verdict in one or two days. However, without Dhankhar’s approval, the notification for conducting elections for Howrah cannot be issued.

Bally municipality, which was formed in 1883 was merged with the Howrah Municipal Corporation on 26 June 2015. Following the bifurcation, the number of councillors of Howrah Municipal Corporation will come down to 50 from 66.