EC dagger hangs on Maya's close bureaucrats

Remove BSP agents, says opposition

With the model code of conduct coming into force following announcement of the polling dates in Uttar Pradesh, official circles here are abuzz with speculation over possible shunting of several senior bureaucrats, who are considered to be close to Chief Minister Mayawati.

Opposition Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) have been demanding removal of several senior officials who are considered to be close to Mayawati, accusing them of working as ‘agents’ of the ruling BSP. The representatives of these parties had also placed their demands before the Election Commission.

According to sources, the number of the officials on the EC watch list was over two dozen and they included many senior IAS and IPS officers currently holding important posts.
The Commission had earlier asked the UP government to remove 14 senior officials, including the state principal secretary, home, Fateh Bahadur Singh.

These 14 officials had also been removed from their  posts by the Commission during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. All of them were, however, sent back to their posts agains after the election was over.

The government, however, instead of removing them, had informed the Commission that these officials were not associated with election work.

According to sources, some senior police officials could also receive shunting orders in the days to come. The opposition parties in the state had also lodged complaints with the Election Commission about several police officials, who, according to them, could favour the BSP in the forthcoming polls.

In the 2007 Assembly polls, the EC had ordered removal of the then state police chief Bua Singh following complaints from the opposition parties against him.

A hurt Bua Singh had then come down heavily on the EC and taken voluntary retirement saying he felt deeply hurt by his shunting.

Sources said the Commission would decide about removing any official only after monitoring their conduct and making an assessment of whether he could be an impediment in the conduct of free and fair polls.

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