Monday, June 17, 2024

Bengal panchayat polls: 10% seats in lowest tier of rural civic body system uncontested

Almost 10 per cent of the total seats at Gram Panchayat (GP) level, which is the lowest tier in the three-tier panchayat system in West Bengal has remained uncontested, for the rural civic body polls in the state scheduled on July 8.

As per the figures of the West Bengal State Election Commission, of the 63,229 seats at GP level, 6,238 seats have remained uncontested which is almost 10 per cent of the total figure.

In case of Panchayat Samiti (PS) level, which is the second tier of the three-tier panchayat system in the state, there are 9,730 seats out of which 759 seats have remained uncontested, which is almost eight per cent of the total seats.

In the case of the 928 seats at zilla parishad (ZP) level, as per latest figures of the state election commission, eight (1 per cent) seats have remained uncontested.

However, according to commission sources, the figures of uncontested seats at each level are slated to rise slightly further as the figures for South 24 Parganas district are yet to be included in that.

In case of GP level, the maximum number of uncontested seats has been recorded in Birbhum at 893, followed by North 24 Parganas at 867 and East Burdwan at 858.

In case of PS level, Birbhum again top the list with 128 uncontested seats, followed by Bankura at 106 and North 24 Parganas at 104. In case of eight uncontested seats at the ZP level, three each are from North Dinajpur and North 24 Parganas and one each from Birbhum and Cooch Behar.

Although the state election commission has not given a breakup of the number of seats going in favour of which political party, political observers are certain that the crude majority on this count is in favour of the ruling Trinamool Congress,

On Wednesday, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court headed by Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam advised the state election commissioner Rajiva Sinha to quit his chair if he is unable to bear the pressure of his position. “In that case the Governor will appoint someone else for that chair,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.

The bench also criticised the state election commission in unprecedented terms and even questioned its neutrality. “After so many developments, I am bound to say that the question remains on the neutrality of the state election commission. This is most unfortunate that a contempt of court petition has been filed against the state election commissioner. I request to follow the court orders as it is,” Justice Sivagnanam observed.

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