Panchayat elections: BJP's appeal to be heard by Calcutta HC tomorrow

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The high court also said that the SEC should have informed it today that it has ensured a level playing field for all players.

In wake of the disruptions and violence that few candidates faced while filing their nominations, the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) on Monday had extended the deadline for filing nominations for West Bengal panchayat elections till 3 pm on Tuesday. He held that the BJP had moved both the high court and the Supreme Court on similar pleas and likened its conduct to "forum hopping".

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday suspended the panchayat election process in West Bengal till April 16.

The last day for filing nominations for the panchayat polls was April 9.

On April 16, after the report is placed by the SEC, the court would decide on the next course step and if need be, the date of elections might also be postponed. Notably, the polling for the three-phased elections is slated to be held on May 1, 3 and 5 while the counting of vote has been scheduled for May 8. The SEC, on April 9 had issued a notification saying the nomination process could be done on April 10 as well but in the morning of April he passed a fresh notification retracting the previous one and saying that no nomination would be submitted on April 10.

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Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been fined Rs 5 lakh by the Court for suppressing information from the court and should be paid to Registrar General of the Calcutta High Court.

Trinamool Congress MP and lawyer Kalyan Bandopadhyay said, "The HC has upheld my plea that the BJP kept it in the dark about filing two cases in two courts simultaneously". BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, "It is a historic order in favour of the people of the state". "The Trinamool made a mockery of the election process by unleashing violence on Opposition candidates".

Speaking to India Today, BJP's panchayat election manager Mukul Roy hailed the court ruling as a moral victory for the party.

"There is no scope for lacuna as we have to continue to unite the people in our fight to restore democracy in West Bengal", CPM state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra said.

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