Panchayat polls: Calcutta HC seeks explanation on withdrawal of 20,585 nominations

The division bench has asked the SEC to submit these explanations in the form of an affidavit by July 27.

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Friday sought an explanation from the State Election Commission (SEC) on why as many as 20,585 candidates withdrew their nominations for the July 8 panchayat elections in West Bengal.

The division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam also sought to know why as many 274 seats in a particular block in South 24 Parganas district were won uncontested by the candidates of a particular party.

The court also sought to know how Moinuddin Gazi, a Trinamool Congress candidate in North 24 Parganas district, could file his nomination despite being in Saudi Arabia.

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The division bench has asked the SEC to submit these explanations in the form of an affidavit by July 27. The matter has been listed for next hearing on June 28.

The bench gave the directions after hearing contempt of court petitions filed by leader of opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, and Congress MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Ashoke Kumar Chakrabory informed the court that the Union Home Ministry has no difficulty in deploying over 82,000 central armed forces personnel as sought by the State Election Commission.

However, at the same time, he argued that such a huge deployment would have been more feasible had there been a five-phase poll, as happened in 2013.

In fact, Adhikari as well as CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty too had questioned whether 82,000 force personnel will be enough for the single-phase poll this time, considering that the number of voters, districts, polling stations and booths have gone up manifold since 2013.

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