West Bengal Panchayat election 2018: HC stays process; BJP slapped with Rs 5 lakh penalty
West Bengal Panchayat election 2018: Calcutta High Court also imposes cost of Rs 5 lakh on BJP for misleading the court.
West Bengal Panchayat election 2018: Calcutta High Court stays panchayat election process in West Bengal till further orders. High Court directs state election commission to file detailed status report by Monday. Calcutta High Court imposes cost of Rs 5 lakh on BJP for misleading the court. The court said it would hear on April 16 the pleas challenging the State Election Commission's decision to withdraw its April 9 notification, which had extended the date for filing nominations by a day. The SEC has been directed to file a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected, among other information by Monday.
Meanwhile, opposition parties in the state termed the high court order staying the rural elections process as "victory of democracy over dictatorship", and sought the resignation of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the alleged violence during filing of nominations. The polls are scheduled to be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in the city to participate in a sit-in demonstration to protest against the alleged violence, said the judgment was a blow to the ruling TMC.
Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy said the order is the "victory for the masses of Bengal".
Leader of the opposition and senior Congress leader, Abdul Mannan, too, welcomed the judgment and demanded the resignations of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and State Election Commissioner A K Singh.
Senior CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said "democratic rights were being throttled" in West Bengal under the TMC rule. The CPI(M)-led Left Front has called for a six-hour strike in West Bengal tomorrow in protest against the pre-poll violence in the state.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee, however, said people have "full faith" on Mamata Banerjee, and added "We will not comment on the court order. Law will take its own course. The opposition parties do not enjoy popularity among the masses and that is why they are approaching the courts (to stall proceedings)"
Earlier on Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Congress and CPI-M of ganging up with the BJP for the coming panchayat polls. She asked the two parties if they supported the saffron outfit`s ideology in the state.
Speaking to media persons in Kolkata, Mamata said, "We want one to one fight against BJP, because it is a communal party. We believe in that. CPI-M and the Congress also say the same thing. But in Bengal, they are together.They are three brothers here. Does that mean they (Congress and CPI-M) don`t consider BJP in Bengal as communal? They should clarify?"
Flaying the Congress, she asked how come they were with the BJP in Bengal, and fighting the party outside. "In Bengal they are with BJP. Outside Bengal, they are fighting the BJP. How come is that possible?" she said, while lashing out against the Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders for failing to declare `jihad` against the RSS, and held them responsible for the CPI-M people contesting as BJP candidates in the upcoming polls.
Denying allegations that the opposition parties were being forcibly prevented from filing their nominations, she said the opposition has put up 90,000 candidates for the around 58,000 Panchayat seats.
(With Agency inputs)