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EC bars civic body officials from exercising their function as members of respective boards

Kolkata: The Election Commission has asked the Bengal government to temporarily restrain politically affiliated heads of urban local bodies who are holding the office of Administrators/Head of Board of Administrators on appointment basis after the end of their elected term, from exercising the functions of the Board. The ECI has asked the state Chief Secretary to send compliance of its order by 10.00 hours on March 22.

The Commission has issued the order "to avoid a situation where critical functions of urban local bodies are actually discharged and thereby affecting level-playing field during the operation of Model Code of Conduct or has potential of and/or may give rise to a legitimate apprehension in the mind of the voters about the fairness and impartiality of the election

process." The Commission's directions is applicable for the entire board of administrators (BOA) of Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Four members of BOA, KMC – Firhad Hakim (Chairman), Atin Ghosh, Debabrata Majumder and Debasish Kumar are contesting the Assembly elections. The Commission has also mentioned the names of board members of Asansol Municipal Corporation, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, Siliguri Municipal Corporation and Chandannagore Municipal Corporation for whom the directions will

be applicable.

"A committee headed by Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary Urban Development, and Principal Secretary Personnel as members shall appoint the government officials, keeping in view ECI's instructions to discharge the functions of the Administrators/Head of Board of Administrator, as the case may be, during the period of Model Code of Conduct" read the order. The Commission expects that Bengal Chief Secretary would ensure a level playing field in all other municipal bodies in Bengal by rigorous reviews of their decisions which can disturb the level playing field.

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