SC expresses ‘shock’ and ‘concern’ over the nature of TMC’s victory of in recent Panchayat polls

In yet another major setback for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Supreme Court has said that there were huge malpractices in the recent elections in West Bengal. The Supreme Court termed it as utterly shocking.

The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, took the issue of so many uncontested seats into notice and said that a few hundred uncontested seats can be understood, but expressed concerns after looking to the statistics.

The Supreme Court asked the state Election Commission to give the data on all the uncontested posts by tomorrow. The Supreme Court expressed anguish on the issue, “We cannot remain oblivious of this fact that such a huge number of seats were uncontested in the Panchayat elections in the state”. The bench questioned the decisions of the state election body. The commission had first extended the time for filing of nomination papers and later took it back within a day.

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The court also feared that the values of the constitution are eroded in the state, as grass root democracy is enshrined in the constitution. “What is bothering us is that out of total 48,650 Panchayat seats, 16,000 posts remained uncontested,” the bench.

The bench comprised of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, responded to the grave situation, referring the same fear regarding elections for the posts of Zilla Parishad (district level) and Panchayat Samitis of the villages.

In recent elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) had won 34 per cent of seats uncontested in the gram panchayat polls. There were 20,076 seats out of 58,692 seats, where elections were not held, as no political party could not contest against the ruling Trinamool Congress government for various reasons.

The TMC had won 203 seats out of the 825 Zilla Parishad seats, while the party won 16,814 of the 48,650 Gram Panchayat seats while the party won 3,059 of 9,217 Panchayat Samiti seats uncontested. The TMC won more seats uncontested in the districts of Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad and South 24 Paraganas.

The elections to the Panchayats saw one of the most violent days since the time of Communist rule in the state. The TMC party is alleged to have openly threatened and used violence against the other political parties to make sure that they do not contest the elections.

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