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TMC seeks removal of Sudeep Jain over 'track record of bias'

Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has written a letter to the Election Commission of India demanding the removal of Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, who is the in-charge of Bengal, raising questions over his credibility in view of past records.

Addressing a press conference at the Trinamool Bhavan, party MP Saugata Roy said: "Derek O'Brien, TMC Rajya Sabha MP has written the letter to the CEO seeking his intervention into the matter."

In the letter, Derek alleged that before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections BJP supporters, who took part in a roadshow of Amit Shah, had vandalised the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Following the incident, Jain submitted "an erroneous and biased report" to the ECI, which in its turn — in an unprecedented manner — had barred election campaigning two days prior to the polling date, though BJP was allowed to complete its election campaigning for the day before such a restriction was imposed. Roy said if such a person was allowed to continue, then it would be difficult to conduct free and fair Assembly elections in 2021.

He said before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Jain had proposed to set up a Quick Response Team (QRT) comprising state police and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to be led by an officer from the CAPF.

Such a proposal was unconstitutional as the Indian Constitution states that such forces would be led by an official of the state police. The CAPF cannot register any case under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Subsequently, the ECI realised this and the decision for QRT to be headed by a CAPF official was withdrawn.

Roy added that under such circumstances, serious doubts had been raised as to whether Jain would function impartially during the elections or not. "It is being feared that Jain's actions will be tilted towards the BJP," the leader maintained.

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