Kolkata: Unhappy with the Election Commission’s announcement of Assembly by-polls in Bhowanipore seat and the likely win by Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, the state BJP on Monday slammed the commission and threatened to take legal steps for a stay on the elections.
Wondering whether the EC was an “astrologer or psephologist”, state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said, “Is Bhowanipore free from Covid-19 but four other Assembly constituencies — Dinhata, Santipur, Khardah and Gosaba – are in the grip of it? The EC needs to explain this.”
Referring to state chief secretary H.K. Dwiwedi’s apprehension to EC of a “constitutional crisis” if Ms Banerjee cannot continue as the CM without winning and becoming an MLA within six months of the state elections, Mr Basu added, “It was heard that the state chief secretary wrote to the EC for the need of the CM to become an elected member.”
He added, “But how could the EC accept the state government’s proposal or argument? Is the EC an astrologer or psephologist who is able to foresee Ms Banerjee's victory? The EC has to give its reply… Our leaders are consulting the legal experts. If needed, we will move the court against the EC decision."
The development came on a day the EC issued a notification about the Assembly by-poll in Bhowanipore and polls at Shamshergunj and Jangipur seats in Murshidabad on September 30.
According to sources, senior BJP leaders in New Delhi have already spoken to their party MP and veteran lawyer, Mahesh Jethmalani, after getting calls from the state party leadership to explore options to file a petition against the EC before the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.
Reacting to Mr Basu, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said, “The BJP has become isolated from the people. That is why it depends on the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and National Human Rights Commission to create issues which are not our problems. Since there is an improvement in the Covid-19 pandemic, we urged the EC for the Assembly by-polls in all the vacant seats. Now the EC can only state why it decided the by-poll only at a certain seat. Anyway, this is not something new going to happen for the first time. In the past it happened in the cases of two former prime ministers, H.D. Deve Gowda and P.V. Narasimha Rao.”