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Trinamool Congress approaches ECI for bypolls in West Bengal

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Mamata-Banerjee

With the Trinamool Congress approaching the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday for conducting the pending bypolls in the state, the possibility of an early election cannot be ruled out. According to the rules, Mamata Banerjee who is still not an elected member of the Assembly, will have to become an elected member before November 2 if she is supposed to continue as the chief minister of the state.

According to an announcement made by the party, a five-member delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs including Sougata Roy, Jwahar Sircar, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sajda Ahmed and Mohua Moitra will meet the election commissioner at 3.15 p.m. on Thursday. They will again ask the commission to conduct the polls in the state.

Earlier five MPs led by the leader of the party in Parliament Sudip Bandopadhyay met the Chief Election Commissioner in July this year and urged him to conduct the pending bypolls in the state. Bandopadhyay had informed that the ECI has assured them of conducting the polls then but even after more than one month nothing has been done in that regard.

“In October elections are impossible as there is Durga puja followed by several other festivals and in that case the ECI has only the month of September to conduct the election. The Covid situation in the state is well under control and we have been pressing for long for the bypolls. We have even approached the ECI and requested them to conduct polls but nothing has been done so far,” a senior party leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

As per ECI rules, elections can be conducted on the 24th day after the announcement of the polling dates. Generally, the commission retains 10 days for taking the preparatory steps and the candidates get 14 days of time to campaign. Sources also said that even a large section within the commission is willing to complete the poll process by the end of September. Getting government officers and staff for the purpose of elections will be extremely difficult during the festive month of October.

The results for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections were announced on May 2. As Mamata Banerjee who contested from Nandigram in East Midnapore was defeated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari she will have to get elected within six months after the announcements of the results that ends on November 2. Sovondeb Chattopadhyay has already resigned from Rashbehari Assembly constituency making room for Mamata Banerjee to contest from the constituency. Now it all depends on the ECI to announce the polls.

“Conducting elections during the festive month of October is virtually impossible. So, by all means the polls will have to be concluded by September. But one should remember that for the Assembly bypolls only ECI can say the final word. If the ECI decides to postpone the polls for any reason, neither any state government nor any political party will be in a position to do anything. But since the impact of Covid-19 in the state is much less now, we can expect the ECI to complete the election process by September,” a senior party leader said.

Maharashtra

Pawar meets LS Speaker to revoke disqualification of Lakshadweep MP

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 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar on Monday met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and urged him to revoke the disqualification of party’s Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal whose conviction has been suspended by the Kerala High Court.

Pawar said, “As the Kerala High Court suspended the conviction and sentence of the former Lakshadweep MP and hence we appealed to the honourable speaker to consider the matter of suspension.”

He said that he met with the Lok Sabha speaker and requested him to revoke the disqualification of the NCP’s MP.

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it will consider the Kerala High Court order, which suspended the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in an attempt to murder case, and take action in accordance with the law.

Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Faizal, submitted before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that the by-election cannot go on as the high court has suspended the conviction of his client.

Faizal’s conviction had resulted in his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. The bypoll was announced by the EC after Faizal was disqualified following his conviction in the case.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the EC, contended before the bench, also comprising B.V. Nagarathna, that the action will be taken in accordance with law against the backdrop of the high court order.

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National News

BJP govt in MP begins administrative surgery ahead of Assembly polls

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With around eight months left to the state legislative elections, the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government has started an administrative surgery.

In a notification issued by Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains late on Sunday, as many as 11 IAS officers, of them seven district collectors, have been transferred.

The transfer list issued two days before the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is scheduled to chair a high-level meeting with IAS and IPS officers in the state.

Gwalior collector Kaushlendra Singh has been shifted to Bhopal after being appointed as Additional Chief Secretary of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Akshya Kumar Singh, 2010 batch IAS, who was serving as district collector of Shivpuri, has been appointed as new district collector of Gwalior.

Ravindra Kumar Choudhary (2011 batch IAS) will be the new district collector of Shivpuri, while Khargone collector Kumar Purusottam (2012) will be new collector of Ujjain. Notably, Kumar Purusottam was appointed Khargone collector following a communal riot in April last year. Shivraj Singh Verma (2012 batch IAS) district collector of Barwani will be replacing Kumar Purusottam.

Dr. Phatting Rahul Haridas (2012), who has been serving as collector of Shivni district, will replace Shivraj Singh Verma. Similarly, Sonia Meena, collector of Anuppur has been shifted to Bhopal and has been appointed as Additional Chief Secretary in Madhya Pradesh government.

Jabalpur Municipal Commissioner Ashish Vashishtha (2014 batch IAS) will be new collector of Anuppur district, while Kshit Singhal (2014 batch IAS), who has been serving as the CEO in Sagar Zila Panchayat, has been appointed as the new district collector of Shivni.

Sources told IANS that a major reshuffle of IPS officers, including Police Commissioner Bhopal and Indore, is likely to be announced soon. The names of SP to IG rank officers are also likely to be included in the upcoming transfer list.

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National News

SC agrees to examine plea against ban on BBC documentary on Gujarat riots

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine on February 6, a plea challenging the Centre’s ban on the BBC documentary in connection with the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

Advocate M.L. Sharma mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The top court agreed to hear on February 6.

The top court will also hear next Monday, a separate petition filed by journalist N. Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan on taking down their tweets with links of the documentary.

The plea filed by Sharma contended that the BBC Documentary on Gujarat riots recorded and was released for public view, however due to fear of truth the documentary has been banned from viewership in India by any means under rule 16 of IT Act 2021.

Sharma’s plea sought a direction for quashing of the January 21 order under the IT Act being illegal, malafide and arbitrary, unconstitutional and void ab-initio and ultra vires to the Constitution of India.

The documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ has been banned on social media and online channels, but some students have screened it on campuses of various universities across the country.

Sharma’s plea contended that the BBC documentary has reflected true facts with original recording of the victims of riot 2002 as well as other concerned persons involved in the scenario of riot, and it can be used for judicial justice.

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