West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday filed her nomination papers for the by-polls to the Bhabanipur seat. Banerjee needs to win in order to hold on to her office.
As per the schedule, polling will take place on September 30 while results will be announced on October 4.
The TMC had on Sunday officially announced Mamata Banerjee as its candidate for the by-election in Bhabanipur. TMC's campaign in the south Kolkata seat is underway after the Election Commission announced the bypoll last week following a request from the state government to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Banerjee, who lost the election in Nandigram to her former protege Suvendu Adhikari, has to win this by-poll to retain her Chief Minister's post.
While the BJP is yet to announce its candidate for the bypoll, the Congress has declared that it will not field any candidate against Mamata. The Left Front has announced that CPI(M) leader Srijib Biswas will be its candidate for the bypoll to Bhabanipur.
The bypoll will be held on September 30 along with the elections to Samserganj and Jangipur seats in Murshidabad district where polling could not be held during the eight-phase assembly election held earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the TMC has pulled out all the stops to ensure Banerjee's victory by a record margin and has engaged senior leaders to look after the eight municipal wards in the constituency. Party state president (Subrata Bakshi) has been given the responsibility of ward 63, party secretary-general and minister Partha Chatterjee has been assigned with ward numbers 71 and 72, state minister Firhad Hakim and other senior leaders have been asked to look after other wards.
Banerjee is a resident of Bhabanipur and has contested from the seat in the past two state assembly elections since 2011.
Banerjee, who led her party to a massive electoral triumph for a third successive term, is required to win a seat in the state assembly by November 5 in conformity with the constitutional provisions to continue as Chief Minister. The Constitution allows a non-member of a state legislature or Parliament to continue in a ministerial position for six months.
After her defeat in Nandigram, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, state Cabinet minister and TMC MLA from Bhabanipur, vacated the seat to facilitate her election from there. Banerjee had entered the Assembly after winning the by-poll in the Bhabanipur seat months after her party stormed to power by ousting the 34-year-old Left Front regime in 2011. She is a six-term MP from the South Kolkata Lok Sabha seat, which has the Bhabanipur seat as one of its segments.