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EC writes to CM in reply to 'BJP bias' dig

EC writes to CM in reply to BJP bias dig

Kolkata: A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI) accusing it of acting at the behest of BJP, the ECI wrote its reply to her.

The Deputy Election Commissioner of India Chandra Bhushan Kumar wrote to Banerjee on Sunday, saying that in case of Bengal the commission had spent two days on

January 31 and February 1 in the city to carry out a review of the poll-preparedness and also the fairness of the electoral process.

During the review meeting the commission interacted with political parties, followed by the review meeting with district election officers (DEO), superintendents and commissioners of police, various enforcement agencies and also with the Chief Secretary and the Director General of police.

The Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of Bengal Sudip Jain had reviewed the situation in the middle of March in Kolkata. A Special Police Observer was also appointed for the state.

The decision to transfer the Senior Police Observers was based upon the cumulative feedback from the Deputy Election Commissioner and the Special Police Observer. The DEC also clarified that the officers who have been given the charge are of similar seniority and they are also from the Bengal cadre.

The ECI had removed a number of senior police officers on Friday, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Gyanwant Singh. Rajesh Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (ADG), Pollution Control Board, was made the new Kolkata Police Commissioner, while Natarajan Ramesh Babu, ADG and IGP, Operations, was named the new Bidhannagar Police Commissioner.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that in her letter, the Chief Minister had termed the decision of the ECI as "Highly arbitrary, motivated and biased" and added:

"We have every reason to believe that the decision of the commission came at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre."

Banerjee had also written: "Law and order is a state subject. Yet, no consultation has been made with the state government. The panel seeking names of officers has not been followed. Such a step could have given the state government an opportunity to send a panel of officers who have desired experience over the area, which could have helped them to discharge their functions effectively."

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