The Supreme Court suspended the order of the Calcutta High Court regarding an electronic filing of nominations which was asked for by the CPM since they claimed that their intended candidates could not file their papers because of what they called as Trinamool terror.
The panchayat elections in West Bengal are to be held on May 14, Monday. It came as a relief for the chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the State Election Commission after about one and a half month of court battles with every opposition party in the state.
“We welcome the decision on panchayat polls. The decision is in favor of the people. We are for free, fair and peaceful elections,” Ms. Banerjee said this evening.
Derek O’Brien of Trinamool tweeted one word only after the situation became clear: “Boom” The Supreme Court suspended the order of the Calcutta High Court regarding an electronic filing of nominations which was asked for by the CPM since they claimed that their intended candidates could not file their papers because of what they called as Trinamool terror. The Calcutta High Court had ordered that e-nominations should be accepted by the State Election Commission.
The chief justice of the Calcutta High Court did not wish to intervene in the election process and said that elections may be held on May 14, later revising the date to “whenever” because there is a parallel case in the division bench the next day. The court ordered comprehensively that the compensation should be paid to the potential victims of the polls violence.
But there is a problem for Mamata Banerjee as the Supreme Court is concerned that thirty-four per cent of the seats were won by the ruling party without contesting for it and the results notification were suspended.
The Supreme Court noted the percentage. In the last forty years, the Bengal panchayat polls are the highest. The record to date was held for the year 2003 since the Left won eleven percent of the seats unopposed.
The Supreme Court is bothered about the thirty-four per cent seats that have been elected unopposed. “Elections to be held in absolute fairness, ‘’ said by the Supreme Court, suspending the notification of those results.
The Opposition said that the ruling party had been rejected. The BJP’s Pratap Bandopadhyay said that he is happy because the Supreme Court has recognized that 1.75 crores of 5.5 crore voters have not been able to vote in the uncontested seats.
The Trinamool refused to admit as such. Results for the 34 per cent seats are not canceled, said
Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee, adding that the opposition shouldn’t get too excited.
According to Mamata Banerjee, fourteen Trinamool supporters have been killed in poll-linked violence since April 2nd, when the nomination filing began. However, as per BJP’s Jai Prakash Majumdar’s claim, fifty-two of their supporters died. Bombs were hurled and bullets were fired. Swords and daggers were displayed.
One third or about 20,000 seats of the 57,692 panchayat seats which were up for grabs were won without a fight. As per the opponents they claim that their intending candidates could not file nominations because of the Trinamool ’s terror. On the contrary, the Trinamool said that the opposition parties don’t have feet on the ground so failed to field candidates.
Panchayat elections may come and go by the time Supreme Court hears the case on July 3rd but the lessons are yet to be learned.