The full bench of the Election Commission (EC) conducting a review on the overall poll preparedness in the state on Tuesday has found laxity among some police officers and administrative officials in the districts in enforcing the model code of conduct (MCC) of the elections.
It was learnt from the sources that the full bench of the EC had expressed its dissatisfaction over the performance of the police and administrative officials of the bordering districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Burdwan and Birbhum and warned them to strictly adhere to the election guidelines.
The commission’s full bench had learnt that a section of the police and administrative officials in the four districts were not taking adequate measures to seize the illegal arms and not up to the mark to crack down the bomb producing units and the hideouts of the local criminals.
The full bench has also come to know that illegal arms were smuggled in from the neighbouring states before the elections. In view of this the district officials were instructed to carry out vigilance in the bordering areas so that arms and illicit liquors were not brought into West Bengal before or during the various phases of the polls.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi during a press conference said: “We have received some complaints against some officers in the districts. We were verifying the complaints, raised against certain officials from out independent sources. If any officers were found to have flouted the EC’s directives and any slothness was found on their part action will be taken against them. The commission is assessing the situation.”
The full bench of the election commission during the administrative meeting expressed its dissatisfaction over pending of non-bailable warrants across the state. According to the commission, there were 31,000 non-bailable warrants which are yet to be executed. Around 89,000 non-bailable warrants have executed whereas 31,000 were still pending at various police stations levels.
Senior elections officials in the state have been instructed to conduct a review on the police stations. All the police stations have been asked to book the local goons and anti-social so that the voters do not face any obstructions while visiting the polling stations.
Police personnels will be closely monitored by the commission and the police observers. All the police stations will be under the review of the commission.
“All the police stations were being asked to take preventive action to drive away the local anti-socials so that there is no intimidation. The EC has already taken a note on the neutrality of some officers. The administration must ensure that the criminals do not roam free in the locality. Nobody will be spared if found to have failed to abide by election guidelines,” Zaidi said after convening an administrative meeting at a hotel in New Town.
Zaidi also maintained: “The commission has given a direction to the election officials to create an environment so that peace prevails during the polling days. The district officials have also been instructed to conduct a comprehensive review of the law and order situation in their respective districts. All the vulnerable areas are under the direct focus of the commission.”
The Chief Election Commissioner also pointed out that all the polling locations should be covered by the central forces.
“The central forces have been deployed in the state from March 1 . There had been confidence boosting measures underway. There were some complaints by political parties that the central forces were not taken to the vulnerable locations. The EC is looking into the matter,” Zaidi said.