Votes will be counted on October 3, the poll body said in its notification, which also announced bypoll dates for two other seats in Bengal (Samserganj) and (Jangipur), as well as Pipli in Odisha.
However, bypolls for 31 other constituencies have been deferred in light of the Covid situation.
“… considering the constitutional exigency and special request from the state of West Bengal, it has (been) decided to hold bypoll for AC 159 – Bhabanipur. Much stricter norms have been kept by the Commission as an abundant caution to safeguard from COVID-19,” the top poll body said.
“After taking into consideration the inputs and views of Chief Secretaries of the concerned states, and the respective Chief Electoral Officers, the Commission has decided not to hold bypolls in other 31 Assembly constituencies and 3 Parliamentary constituencies,” it added.
Covid cases in Bengal (and other poll-bound states) spiked during campaigning and voting earlier this year; in Bengal daily new cases reached a peak of over 20,000 in mid-May.
As of this morning though, the seven-day average of daily new cases is below 640.
Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress claimed an emphatic victory in the April-May election, winning 213 of a total of 294 seats in the Bengal Assembly, but she lost her individual contest.
The Chief Minister had given up her stronghold of Bhabanipur to contest from Nandigram – a high-profile clash with the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, her former lieutenant.
She was beaten by fewer than 2,000 votes after an incredibly tight and controversial race, the result of which has been challenged in the Calcutta High Court.
Ms Banerjee has asked for Mr Adhikari’s election to be declared void under on three grounds – commission of corrupt practices, seeking of votes on basis of religion, and booth capture.
She has also questioned the Election Commission’s decision to reject her plea for a recount.
Last month the court adjourned hearing of the petition till November, after Mr Adhikari’s lawyers said he had approached the Supreme Court seeking a transfer of the case.
In May, days after election results were announced, the Trinamool said the MLA who won from Bhabanipur – Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay – had resigned to allow Ms Banerjee to contest.
Like Ms Banerjee, Mr Chattopadhyay, who is the state’s Agriculture Minister, has six months to win another seat and retain his post. That six-month period is expected to expire in November.
According to news agency PTI, Mr Chattopadhyay is expected to contest from Khardah, which fell vacant after the Trinamool’s Kajal Sinha died after contracting the coronavirus.
However, Khardah doesn’t figure in this list of bypolls.
With inputs from NDTV,PTI