EC announces bypoll for Mamata Banerjee’s home constituency, 3 others in Bengal and Odisha

The Election Commission Saturday announced the bypoll for the Bhabanipur constituency — Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s home turf — in Kolkata. The bypoll is set to be held on September 30 while the votes will be counted on October 3.

The seat fell vacant after veteran Trinamool Congress leader and minister Shovandev Chattopadhyay’s post-poll resignation.

Apart from Bhabanipur, elections in West Bengal’s Samshergunj and Jangipur and Odisha’s Pipli constituencies will be held on the same day.

The commission held meetings with Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers and took their opinion. In a statement, the poll panel said, “He (Chief Secretary of West Bengal) has also informed that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid vacuum in the state, the bye-election for 159-Bhabanipur AC, Kolkata from where Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister intends to contest elections may be conducted.”

The commission added Covid protocols will be maintained during the whole process. In indoor campaigns, not more than 30% of the capacity and in outdoor campaigns not more than 50% of the capacity will be allowed.

The number of star campaigners has also been restricted and regulations announced for door-to-door campaigns, road shows, street corner meetings and other means of campaigns.

The silence period before the poll will be for 72 hours. No motorcycle or cycle rallies will be allowed and only those who have been fully-vaccinated will be allowed for poll duty.