Kolkata, Aug 24, 2018 : There will be no re-election for around 20,000 local body seats in Bengal that were won uncontested by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party in May, the Supreme Court has said. The Trinamool Congress bagged 20,178 panchayat seats without contest, which led to opposition allegations of violence and terror tactics by Bengal’s ruling party.
The opposition has alleged that no one could file nominations to contest those seats because of the Trinamool Congress’s bullying.
"Keeping in view of the seriousness of allegations of nominations being stopped, Supreme Court allows individuals to take legal recourse," the judges said.
A re-poll would have been hugely embarrassing for the Mamata Banerjee government. A special leave petition was filed by Bengal’s State Election Commission in May. Opposition parties including the CPM, BJP and Congress, had gone to Calcutta High Court in the run-up to the panchayat polls, pleading that their candidates could not file nominations because of alleged violence by the Trinamool.
There were cases of alleged Trinamool workers holding motorcycle rallies with swords in their hands outside nomination filing centres on nomination day, scaring aspirants away.
The Calcutta High Court ordered the State Election Commission to accept electronically filed nomination papers. But the State Election Commission challenged that in Supreme Court.
In court, CPM raised the issue of uncontested wins. BJP did too. The Supreme Court expressed shock at the huge number of seats, 34.35 per cent, that had been won by Trinamool without contest.
It put an interim stay not only on electronic nomination filing but also on the publication of results of the uncontested seats.