Mamata buckles under EC pressure

Mamata buckles under EC pressure

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday scaled down her fiery rhetoric and agreed to follow the Election Commission’s directives calling for transfer of seven senior police and administrative officials.

Speaking to mediapersons at a hurriedly convened press conference in Durgapur, Trinamool Congress chief said, “I will appoint officers as directed by the Election Commission. I have no objection. It will rather be good for me. I have good contact with all the officers in my state.”

Sources in the secretariat said the state government will transfer five superintendents of police (SP), two additional district magistrates (ADM) and one district magistrate (DM), as ordered by the poll panel.

The EC has set a deadline for 10 am on Wednesday and the state government would abide by it, not willing to jeopardise the poll situation in the state, sources said.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on Tuesday evening at the state secretariat after the EC refused to budge. Chief Secretary Sanjoy Mitra has sent a note to the chief minister urging her to abide by the EC order as the commission is well within its rights to issue such order.

Banerjee is expected to sign the necessary papers on Wednesday after returning from election campaigning in Durgapur.

Earlier in the day, Mitra wrote to the EC seeking review of the transfer orders since these were without the state government's consultation and could lead to administrative hindrance.

The state government reportedly suggested three replacements for each of the officials. The officials asked to be replaced by the EC include, North 24 Parganas DM Sanjay Bansal, Malda SP Rajesh Yadav, West Midnapore SP Bharati Ghosh, Murshidabad SP Humayun Kabir, SP of Burdwan S M H Meerza, ADM of West Midnapore Arindam Dutta and South 24 Parganas ADM Alokesh Prasad Roy.

The EC order came after receiving complaints from the opposition parties, who alleged that the officials are biased and failed to address their grievances over violation of model code in the state ahead of polling.

The situation had taken a turn for the worse after Mamata lashed out at the EC and dared the commission to take action against her. Addressing a public rally in Burdwan on Monday, the defiant TMC chief said, “I will not remove a single officer. Let the EC come and arrest me. I throw this challenge to the EC. I will put in my resignation... I want to see how the EC takes charge of the state’s law and order.”

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