The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered the transfer of three officials, including the returning officer of Ballygunj Assembly constituency in Kolkata, reported PTI. The two others transferred are Sub Divisional Police Officer of Haldia Barun Baidya and Bichitra Bikas Roy, the circle inspector of Mahishadal in East Medinipur district.
In a letter to the West Bengal chief electoral officer, the poll panel said that Ballygunj Returning Officer Arindam Mani, who had been posted in the same office for more than 10 years, will be transferred to a non-election post immediately. The Election Commission also sought a panel of three officers for filling the returning officer’s post at the earliest.
Sub Divisional officer Baidya, on the other hand, was replaced with one Uttam Mitra. The Bharatiya Janata Party had lodged a complaint with the state Election Commission, alleging that Baidya was close to the Trinamool Congress. The poll panel order said Baidya will not be given in any election-related post till the completion of the polls.
The third officer, Roy, was replaced with one Sirsendu Das, who is currently an inspector at the circuit bench in Jalpaiguri, the order said.
The Election Commission has ordered a flurry of transfers of senior government officials in West Bengal over the last few days. On March 26, the panel had transferred five officials in the state, just two days ahead of the first phase of elections on March 27.
Before that on March 20, the commission asked the West Bengal government to refrain from selecting “politically affiliated” figures as heads of civic bodies on an appointment basis after the end of their elected term. The poll panel cited the Assembly elections while objecting to such appointments.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the transfers were being made at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party. “The way BJP is interfering in the functioning of EC, it appears to be a BJP commission,” Banerjee had said at a public meeting at Danton district of the state on March 26.
Elections in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The first phase of the elections was held on March 27. The state recorded an approximate voter turnout of 79.79%. The second phase will be held on Thursday. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.