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Kolkata: The three-tier Panchayat elections in Bengal will be held in May ~ two months before the expiration of the tenure of the existing panchayat boards.

West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) announced the election schedule today. State election commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh said that the polls will be taken in three phases ~ on 1 May, 3 May, and 5 May. The counting of votes will be on 8 May.

The elections will be held in 20 districts of the state barring Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kolkata. Kolkata being entirely an urban area does not have a panchayat mechanism in place.

In case of Darjeeling and Kalimpong holding the Panchayat polls will require framing new rules as the two districts fall under the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Singh said that the notification for the three-tier Panchayat polls will be published by the respective district magistrates on 2 April. Filing of nomination will be allowed until 9 April while the last day to withdraw candidature is 16 April.

The vote will be taken for 48,656-gram panchayat seats, 9,217 panchayat samilti seats, and 825 zila parishad seats spread over the 20 districts. The total number of eligible voters is a little over 5.08-crore and the number of polling booths is 58,467.

DETAILED SCHEDULE:

1 MAY: Nadia, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, East Burdwan, West Burdwan, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, East Midnapore, West Midnapore.

3 MAY: Murshidabad and Birbhum.

5 MAY: Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Malda.

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