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9 May 2018

Panel told to accept CPM nominations ...800 CPM papers test date

TT, Calcutta: The high court's directive to accept online nominations of 831 CPM candidates has left both the state election commission and the government wondering if poll-related formalities can now be completed before May 14 even if the date gets judicial approval.

With the acceptance of the nominations, the district authorities will now have to print ballot papers afresh and, more importantly, initiate a series of measures in the seats that had gone uncontested before but now have contestants from Opposition parties.

"In such seats, the winning candidates have already received certificates, which have to be cancelled first. Then ballot papers have to be printed afresh and force deployment plans for such seats have to be made from scratch. This is not an easy task with five days left before Monday," said a senior government official on Tuesday evening.

Sources said many of the 831 nominations filed by the CPM through email were from uncontested seats. That means the process, from scrutiny onwards, might have to be done afresh for the 800-odd seats.

In Bengal, over 34 per cent of the 58,692 seats in the three tiers of the panchayat system have gone uncontested amid Opposition allegations that the ruling Trinamul prevented rivals from filing nominations.

Officials pointed out that following the high court directive of Tuesday, the number of uncontested seats could decrease, although not sharply.

"Let the ruling party, the government and the commission face the consequences of the court order. This should be a lesson for taking the polls casually," said CPM central committee member Rabin Deb.

Commission sources said, however, that the elections on May 14 could still be possible as the number of online CPM nominations was not huge.

"Even if it is 831, it is a miniscule percentage of the total 58,000-odd seats. So elections everywhere else can take place on May 14, while a few hundred could be scheduled later, between May 14 and 16," said a source.

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