Accept 11 panchayat poll candidates’ nominations via WhatsApp: Calcutta HC to WBSEC

Kolkata: In a rare instance on the use of social networking platforms in the elections, the Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) to accept the nominations of 11 candidates contesting the Panchayat polls at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas through popular messenger service: WhatsApp.
While passing the order, Justice Subrata Talukdar cautioned the state poll panel that the high court may even stall the poll process if the directive was not followed. According to the judge, the 11 candidates should be allowed to fight the polls.
The high court’s ruling came after CPI-ML Red Star leader Sharmishtha Chowdhury filed a petition complaining of facing resistance to file nominations even on Monday which was the extended day for filing nominations.
She claimed that 11 candidates could not file their nominations for the polls of Polerhat gram panchayat II in Bhangar which witnessed massive unrest over the construction of a power grid in wake of allegations of forcible land acquisition in 2017.
Chowdhury added that nine of the candidates later sent their nominations through WhatsApp to the block development officer to keep it as a ‘record.’
The judge ordered the WBSEC to look into Chowdhury’s complaint.
On Tuesday, the state poll panel submitted a report to the judge.
Chowdhury said, “The high court directed the WBSEC to accept the nominations of those 11 candidates through WhatsApp apart from making it sure that their names should feature in the candidates’ list. It also asked the state poll panel to submit a report on April 30.”
Hailing the high court’s order state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “The high court tried to protect the democratic rights of the people of West Bengal in its orders so far. Nothing can be more positive than this ruling in which the judge ordered for the acceptance of the nominations by willing candidates in Bhangar. The judges want the people should get opportunity to participate in the elections contrary to the Trinamool Congress and the state police which have created a reign of terror.”
Welcoming the ruling state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “It is a very good news. After this order I assume that at least 50,000 more nominations can be filed by WhatsApp and mail altogether.”