West Bengal: Left protests state election commission’s ‘partisan role’ in announcing civic poll schedule | India News

KOLKATA: Left workers on Wednesday clashed with the police outside the West Bengal State Election Commission office here alleging a partisan role played by the poll body in announcing civic elections to four municipal corporations but not in Howrah.
The SEC on Monday announced polls to Siliguri, Chandannagar, Bidhannagar and Asansol municipal corporations on January 22. The commission, however, left out Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) amid an ongoing row between the Mamata Banerjee government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over a bill seeking its bifurcation.
Left workers marched to the SEC office demanding that civic polls be held in Howrah along with the four other municipal corporations, and all results be declared together after elections to other civic bodies in the state are held on February 27.
The police put up barricades outside the SEC office to stop the agitators, leading to a scuffle with the protesters, following which several Left activists including some senior leaders were detained.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose announced that a state-wide agitation will be held on Thursday to protest against the police action.
“We demand that HMC polls be held along with the four other municipal corporations. We want the SEC to ensure free and fair elections, which they have failed to do during the Kolkata civic polls. Also, we want that the results of the January 22 polls be declared along with remaining civic bodies, elections to which are likely to be held on February 27,” CPM central committee member Rabin Deb said.
“But the SEC is acting like a branch office of the ruling TMC and is unwilling to listen to us,” he said.
The governor had earlier said that he had on November 24 sent back the bifurcation bill — which seeks to carve out Bally Municipality out of Howrah Municipal Corporation — to the state government, with a number of queries for which clarifications have not been provided.
The SEC and the West Bengal government had earlier told the Calcutta high court that plans were afoot to hold elections to five municipal corporations in the state on January 22 and the remaining civic bodies, where polls are due, on February 27.
Deb said the Left Front members had stormed out of the all-party meet earlier this week as there was no word on HMC polls.
“The SEC also ignored our demand for taking into consideration the voter list updated till January 2022. It wants to go by the list that was updated till November 2021,” he said.

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