First phase rerun: EC removes Malda SP 3 days before polls
Kolkata: The Election Commission on Saturday removed Malda Superintendent of Police Arnab Ghosh and resisted him from performing any poll duty. Ajoy Prasad, commandant of the State Armed Police (Second Battalion), was asked to take charge of the district, latest by 10 am on Sunday.
The five Lok Sabha constituencies of Malda North, Malda South, Balurghat, Jangipur and Murshidabad will be going to polls on Tuesday, April 23.
Incidentally, the Malda SP happens to be the sixth IPS officer to be removed, including the Commissioners of Kolkata Police and Bidhannagar City Police, after the announcement of polls.
The removal of Ghosh barely three days before the polls in the district is reminiscent of a similar move by the EC just two days before the first phase of polls, when Cooch Behar SP Avishek Gupta was removed.
Sources in the Commission said that BJP had raised allegation against Ghosh because he was just two months short of the ECI mandated 'three years term in the same post'. Incidentally, in 2016 Ghosh - the then SP of South Dinajpur, was removed before the Assembly polls.
Prasad, who is taking charge of Malda, is a 2010 batch IPS officer and had served as Special Superintendent in the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the Commission is satisfied with the scrutiny of the first phase of polls in Cooch Behar and will write to the EC for holding re-poll in only one booth at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar.
The BJP has demanded re-poll for 350 booths in Cooch Behar but the Commission, after two rounds of scrutiny, has disagreed.
Meanwhile, Special Observer for Bengal Ajoy V Nayak said on Saturday that the condition of Bengal is similar to that of Bihar 10-15 years ago. "This is not good for democracy. The people and the political parties of Bihar had understood that the situation could not continue and so there was a change," he said.
When asked about the deployment of force, the Special Observer who was instrumental in conducting the 2015 Bihar election successfully, said: "At present we have a force that is enough to cover more than 92 percent of the booths. We have a target of making it 100 percent. But this not good for a healthy democratic situation," he added.