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Calcutta HC Asks Bengal Poll Panel to Accept Nominations of 9 Candidates Sent Via WhatsApp

The court's directive came after CPI-ML Red Star leader Sharmishtha Chowdhury filed a petition, alleging that the candidates were not allowed to enter Bhangar in South 24 Parganas to file their nominations.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:April 25, 2018, 4:52 PM IST
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Calcutta HC Asks Bengal Poll Panel to Accept Nominations of 9 Candidates Sent Via WhatsApp
Justice Subrata Talukdar directed the state election commission to follow the instruction or the court will stall the entire poll process. (Photo: News18)
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Kolkata: In an unusual move, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) to accept nominations papers sent by nine candidates through WhatsApp.

The court's directive came after CPI-ML Red Star leader Sharmishtha Chowdhury filed a petition, alleging that the candidates were not allowed to enter Bhangar in South 24 Parganas to file their nominations.

She alleged that the candidates faced stiff resistance because they had raised their voice against the construction of a power grid amid allegations of forcible land acquisition in 2017. They wanted to file their nominations at Polerhat gram panchayat II in Bhangar.

“We sent our nominations through WhatsApp to the Block Development Officer (BDO) just to keep a record. Today, the High Court has asked the WBSEC to accept our nominations through WhatsApp. It also asked the WBSEC to submit a report on April 30,” she told News18.

Justice Subrata Talukdar directed the state election commission to follow the instruction or the court will stall the entire poll process. The court said that all the nine candidates will be allowed to fight the Panchayat polls.

State BJP President Dilip Ghosh while welcoming the Court’s decision, said, “This is a historic judgment. Now we will also be able to submit our nominations through WhatsApp.”

Congress president Adhir Chowdhury also welcomed the order, saying that it was to protect the democratic rights of the people.

“In future, WhatsApp will solve the issue of poll violence during filing of nominations. It will save time and money, and transparency could be maintained through this process,” he said.

“I have demanded President’s Rule in West Bengal. Without President’s rule it is difficult for us to exercise our democratic right. I have requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene in to the matter,” he added.

The Calcutta High Court also directed the SEC to have a discussion with all parties to ensure peaceful Panchayat Polls. It also asked the poll panel to ensure safety and security arrangements for the local body polls.

A single judge bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar asked the SEC to inform a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya on the security arrangements.
While dismissing a petition filed by the BJP and the Congress requesting the court to monitor the entire poll process, Justice Talukdar directed the Opposition parties to approach the division bench over the security issues.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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