The West Bengal government may propose to the State Election Commission to postpone elections to four municipal corporations in the state after the Calcutta High Court asked the poll panel to take a call within 48 hours.
Sources told News18.com that the government may send a proposal to the State Election Commission to defer the civic polls by two weeks amid rising cases of Covid-19 in the state. The poll panel is scheduled to hold a meeting on the issue with state government representatives and officials from the state disaster management response team in Kolkata.
The Calcutta High Court had on Friday asked the West Bengal State Election Commission to consider postponing the civic elections in Asansol, Bidhannagar, Siliguri and Chandannagar by at least four to six weeks, giving it 48 hours to come out with its stand.
The division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava was hearing a PIL filed by one Bimal Bhattacharya, who argued that considering the escalating Covid-19 situation, the civic polls should be postponed.
The PIL was filed after the state’s poll panel announced that elections in the four municipalities would be held as scheduled on January 22, and counting would take place on January 25. Sources said the state government is likely to propose that voting be deferred to February 12.
Political parties, too, had demanded that the polls be deferred in view of rising Covid-19 infections in the state.
“The court has almost stated that the state EC should postpone the polls. Let’s see what happens… We have given a letter to the EC twice to postpone elections because in this situation, it’s not possible to continue with elections,” said BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, too, had stated recently: “Right now, nothing should take place in the coming two months. I personally feel that our priority now should be fighting Covid.”
On Friday, West Bengal recorded 22,645 new Covid-19 cases with the positivity rate at 31.14%. The ongoing Gangasagar Mela is feared to further push up the numbers.