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West Bengal panchayat polls: SC stays Calcutta High Court order, raises concern about 'unopposed candidates'

West Bengal panchayat elections will be held on May 14, 2018.

West Bengal panchayat polls: SC stays Calcutta High Court order, raises concern about 'unopposed candidates'

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the West Bengal Election Commission to not declare the results of the candidates who have won unopposed on their seats. The top court further confirmed the date of polling on May 14, asking the poll panel to ensure free and fair panchayat elections.
Calcutta High Court on filing nomination through e-mails was also stayed by the apex court. The SC directed the West Bengal state election commission to not accept nominations filed through e-mails for the state panchayat elections.

On May 8, the HC had directed the SEC to accept the nominations of those candidates named by CPI(M) who had filed their papers electronically within the stipulated time before 3 pm on April 23. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra took note of the fact that almost 17,000 candidates have won the panchayat polls unopposed. The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that the fact that 34 percent of the candidates have won the election unopposed is 'worrying'.

PTI had quoted SEC sources as saying in April 2018 that of the 48,650 seats in 3,358 gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested.

The Mamata Banerjee-led  TMC had filed 1,000 nominations for the zilla parishads, followed by the BJP with 782. The CPI(M) and the Congress had filed 537 and 407 nominations respectively.

There were 134 withdrawals in the TMC camp, followed by the BJP with 153 withdrawals, the CPI(M) with 79 and the Congress with 54.

For the panchayat samitis, the TMC had filed 12,590 nominations, the BJP 6,149, the CPI(M) 4,400 and the Congress 1,740, the sources had said, as per the news agency.

Of these, there were 2,407 withdrawals by the TMC, 931 by the BJP, 558 by the CPI(M) and 301 by the Congress.

For the gram panchayats, the TMC had filed 58,978 nominations, the BJP 27,935, the CPI(M) 17,319 and the Congress 7,313, the sources said, as per the news agency. There were 7,033 withdrawals by the TMC, 4,490 by the BJP, 2,490 by the CPI(M) and 1,383 by the Congress, they had added.

The TMC had filed more nominations than the number of seats in all the three tiers.

(With Agency inputs)