New Delhi, July 3: The fact that thousands of gram panchayat seats went uncontested in West Bengal shows that grass-root level democracy is not working the Supreme Court has observed. The court is hearing a petition which sought a look into to the manner in which the panchayat elections were held in West Bengal recently.
The court said that the seats going uncontested shows that Chapter 9 of the Constitution on grass-root level democracy is not working. What is shocking is that not a small number of seats, but thousands of them have gone uncontested, the court said.
The court noted that the percentage of seats where there was no contest was high in Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad and Purva Bardhaman. Out of the 48,000 gram panchayat seats, more than 16,000 have gone uncontested, the court said.
Replying to the observations, the West Bengal Election Commission said it would compete the data on the no-contest seats and file an affidavit. The commission pointed out orally that there 34.4 per cent seats went uncontested in the violence marred panchayat elections. The mater will be taken up for hearing on Wednesday.