The Election Commission on Saturday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Chhattisgarh government to transfer one of its public relations officials who was purportedly caught on camera offering money in exchange for a sting operation against some leaders of the Opposition Congress, PTI reported. Chhattisgarh is scheduled to conduct the second phase of its Assembly elections on November 20.
The poll panel’s spokesperson said the Election Commission had recommended the transfer of S Rajesh Toppo, secretary and commissioner of public relations in the state government, “in context of alleged statements made by him”. The Election Commission’s panel said, “The commission observed that such statements indicate partisan behaviour apart from use of uncivilised language unbecoming of a senior civil servant.”
A report on local TV channel Sun Star TV broadcast a video showing Toppo purportedly asking a journalist to “bring something” on Congress leaders “where they are abusing”, and said he was willing to pay money for it. Among the leaders he named were Congress MLA Bhupesh Bhagel and MP Tamradhwaj Sahu. Baghel posted the purported video on Twitter on Friday and said it showed how the state government was influencing the media.
The Congress had filed a complaint with the Election Commission, demanding the removal of Toppo.