SC clears uncontested seats in West Bengal panchayat polls

Elections were held in phases for 58,692 posts in GP, ZP and Panchayat Samitis

New Delhi.

The Supreme Court on Friday cleared the deck for notification of results of about 21,000 uncontested seats in the West Bengal panchayat polls.

The Supreme Court allowed candidates in uncontested seats to file election petititions against TMC winners in 30 days.

It was alleged that a large number of seats went to TMC because of intimidation by TMC workers that prevented others from filing nomination papers.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed shock over the fact that ‘thousands and thousands’ of seats in the recent West Bengal panchayat polls remained uncontested. The apex court observed that these figures showed that at the grassroot level, democracy was not working in the state.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, “Huge number of seats went uncontested during the panchayat elections in Bengal. We cannot remain oblivious to this fact. Out of 48,000 gram panchayat seats, nearly 16,000 went uncontested and this is puzzling us.”

“Similar facts were observed for the posts of zilla parishads (district-level) and panchayat samitis at the villages during the panchayat polls in Bengal,” the bench observed.

The Supreme Court on July 3 during a hearing of the case, had directed the West Bengal State Election Commission to file an affidavit, with exact statistics about the number of seats that went uncontested in the local body elections in the state.

Elections were held in phases for 48,650 posts in Gram Panchayats, 825 posts in Zilla Parishads and 9,217 posts in Panchayat Samitis and it has been alleged that around 34 per cent seats were uncontested.

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