Two days ahead of the first phase of polls in the all-important state of West Bengal, the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday transferred five officials in West Bengal who were on election duty. Since the announcement of poll dates and the model of conduct kicked in, the EC has taken up the administration of all poll-bound states, including West Bengal. As such, there is not much which the TMC can do right now to somehow make the environment in the state conducive for itself. The TMC not being responsible for the state police right now has, particularly, started showing its boon-like effects for the people of Bengal.
The people of West Bengal were among the very few citizens in the country who exercised their right to vote in a fearful and intimidating atmosphere. The Election Commission, this time around, however, has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that free and fair polls are conducted in the Eastern state – which by the way, has a history of political violence, first under the decades-long rule of the Left and then under TMC.
Speaking of the recent developments, the IPS and IAS officers who have been transferred by the EC are ADG West Zone Sanjay Singh, DEO Ayesha Rani, SP Diamond Harbour Avijit Banerjee, SP Coochbehar Dr K Kannan and DCP South Kolkata Sudhir Neelkantam. While District Election Officer of Jhargram, Ayesha Rani, will be attached to the office of Chief Secretary of West Bengal till the completion of the elections, the poll body has ordered that Dr Rajesh Kumar will take charge as ADG West Zone, Joyoshi Dasgupta will be posted as DEO Jhargram, Arijit Sinha as SP of Diamond Harbour, Debashish Dhar as SP of Cooch Behar and Akash Magharia as DC of South Kolkata Police.
The EC order stated that these officers will “not be given any election-related posts till the completion of polls.” Till yesterday, over 725 companies of central forces were expected to arrive in West Bengal for the purpose of ensuring that the elections are held in a free and fair manner. This is the highest number of forces that have landed in Bengal for any election. The Election Commission is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that elections are free from any kind of rigging. The commission has also appointed 209 general observers, 55 police observers and 85 expenditure observers for the assembly elections, to be held in eight phases.
The last-minute reshuffling of senior police officers shows that the EC is acting on last-minute inputs too, and not shying away from taking action against those who could purportedly carry out their duties with a sense of bias.