The Election Commission of India on Friday dismissed reports that Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer SB Shashank was removed from his position, ANI reported. “We will be assessing Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain’s report in the matter who went to the poll-bound state,” the poll panel said.
The commission is expected to discuss Jain’s report on Saturday. The announcement came on a day a high-level team of the poll panel met top state government personnel and leaders of civil society organisations in Aizawl to resolve a crisis over electoral arrangements in the state ahead of the November 28 Assembly polls. The delegation, led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, visited the state two days after Shashank was summoned to New Delhi, following demands for his ouster.
Earlier in the day, civil society groups claimed that the delegation led by Jain has agreed to transfer Shashank. “Both our primary demands have been accepted by the EC team,” Vanlalruata, the president of the central committee of the Young Mizo Association, a constituent of the umbrella organisation All NGO Coordination Committee, told The Indian Express. “We have been assured that SB Shashank will be transferred out and the Bru people living in Tripura camps will vote in Mizoram.”
Civil society groups as well as Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla have called for Shashank’s removal for his alleged role in the transfer of Principal Home Secretary L Chuaungo. The Election Commission transferred Chuaungo after Shashank accused him and the state’s Congress government of interfering with the revision of the electoral rolls ahead of the Assembly elections on November 28.
The agitators have also objected to Shashank’s decision to make special arrangements for Bru refugees from Mizoram to vote at their camps in Tripura. They want the refugees to vote at their respective polling stations in Mizoram. However, the protest was called off on Thursday after Shashank was summoned to Delhi.