The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the keenly watched by-election in Bhabanipur on September 30 from where Trinamool Congress supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee is seeking a seat in the Assembly.
A bench, led by active chief justice Rajesh Bindal, dismissed a petition questioning the Election Commission’s contention of a “constitutional exigency” for holding the bypolls to Bhabanipur assembly seat. However, the court slammed the chief secretary for writing to the poll body to expedite the election, a report in LiveLaw said.
On September 24, the court had reserved its judgement after hearing both sides on the matter. The petitioner had sought the court’s intervention as the EC had gone ahead to hold the election in the particular constituency “considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the State of West Bengal”.
The election was necessitated as Banerjee needed to win an Assembly seat to retain the chief minister’s seat as she had lost to her aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram in the May election even as her party romped back to power.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal against Banerjee from Bhabanipur. Several top leaders from the saffron camp has been campaigning for the election.
Banerjee had earlier represented the Bhabanipur seat in the Assembly in 2011 and 2016. In the Assembly election held earlier this year, TMC’s Sovandeb Chattopadhyay won from the constituency only to make resign later to facilitate the party supremo’s election to the legislature.
Banerjee has also moved court and challenged her loss to Adhikari in Nandigram which had led to the need for her to contest a by-election.
According to the Constitution, a person has to get elected to the legislature within six months of taking oath as a minister. Banerjee took oath as chief minister for the third consecutive term on May 5.