The Election Commission of India on Thursday removed Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer SB Shashank and replaced him with Indian Administrative Service officer Ashish Kundra with immediate effect, ANI reported. The move comes more than a week after representatives of civil society organisations in the poll-bound state met a delegation of the election panel to demand his removal.
Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier this month to demand 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 November 28 Assembly elections.
The civil society organisations also objected to Shashank’s decision to make special arrangements for Bru refugees from Mizoram to vote at their camps in Tripura. They demanded that the refugees vote at their respective polling stations in Mizoram.
Protests outside Shashank’s office in Aizawl were called off two days later, after Shashank was summoned to Delhi.
Last week, the poll panel had denied reports of Shashank’s removal and said the “next steps” would be decided only after Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain’s report. But the next day, it had asked the Mizoram government for a list of names of Shashank’s possible replacement.