The Election Commission (EC) has turned down a request from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP’s) Mizoram unit for extension of last day of nomination in the poll-bound State in the wake of protests by local civil society groups against the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank.
A report published in the The Times of India stated that the unrest followed EC’s decision to transfer out Mizoram Principal Home Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo based on the CEO’s inputs that the IAS officer, a Mizo but from Gujarat cadre, was allegedly interfering with the electoral process. However, Thursday saw a restoration of calm in the State.
The report further stated that EC has now written back to the BJP State president JV Hluna, stating the party’s request “for extension of last date for filing of nomination has not been acceded to on account of peace and normalcy in the State today (read Thursday).”
Polling in Mizoram is to be held in a single phase on November 28 next. Commission sources said that rules as well as past court rulings did not allow for prolonging the nomination process beyond the mandated seven days. “Once the nomination process opens, filing of nominations must be completed within a week. The last date cannot be extended and the only alternative is to issue a fresh notification for nomination process,” said an EC official.
It may be recalled that the Calcutta High Court had, during Panchayat polls in West Bengal earlier this year, quashed the State Election Commission’s notification rescinding the poll body’s earlier order extending the last date for filing of nominations. This was in response to BJP’s plea for extension of the process on the ground that its candidates were not being allowed to file their nominations in the Trinamool Congress-ruled State.
The High Court, which was adjudicating the matter after Supreme Court refused to intervene, had asked State EC to issue a fresh notification for Panchayat poll nomination.