Home NEWS EC rejects State law and order report, flooded with poll violence complaints

EC rejects State law and order report, flooded with poll violence complaints

by Kolkata Today

The Election Commission today rejected West Bengal government’s law and order report. Sources said that EC is dissatisfied with the law and orders report submitted by the state government. The West Bengal government will have to comply with EC norms and regulations by 31st January.

A full bench of the Commission is currently on a two-day visit to state. The visit is considered early and unprecedented. However, political observers feel that EC is likely to declare polls to state within the first week of February. EC has scheduled a number of meetings with state administrative and police officials alongside 10 political parties and 20 central enforcement agencies, including income tax, excise and customs department. The EC panel will meet state chief secretary and home secretary and the director general of police.

The EC panel is headed by its chief Sunil Arora and other EC s Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar. Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, is already on a tour of the state for the past one month. He is in charge of EVMs and was given two extensions after he retired in June 2020. His first extension had expired on 21 December 2020.  He is given a second extension in January 2021 to oversee polls in Bengal. In his first extension he oversaw poll preparations in Bihar. JDU-BJP led NDA alliance won the Bihar polls.

Both AITC/TMC and BJP has sought EC’s intervention for free and fair polls including a proper scrutiny of voters list. There are allegations that the voters list has been tampered with the entry of unauthorized names. While BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has alleged that Rohingya refugees have been included in the list, AITC minister and leader Partha Chatterjee has alleged of BSF pressuring voters in the border to vote for a `particular party’. BSF has denied the claim.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced recognition for refugee colonies in the state. She laid out a development plan for South Dinajpur district. South Dinajpur is the third largest minority infested district of the state after Murshidabad and Malda. There are around 120 seats in Bengal with Bengali, Urdu and Hindi speaking minorities. As per current estimates the minority population in the state is around 30 per cent. As per 2011 census it was 27.01 per cent.

Abbasuddin Siddique a major Muslim cleric of Furfura Sharif in Hooghly today floated a new party Indian Secular Front (ISF). Few weeks ago, AIMIM chief Assaduddin Owaisi had met the cleric. It is rumoured that AIMIM might contest 45-55 seats in 2021 state polls in March and April.

EC’s full bench visit is significant at a time when its Deputy Commissioner Sudeep Jain has already sent strong messages to poll offiicals of summary and stringent action in case of dereliction of duty or show of favouritism. The poll panel has asked for regular reports of law and orders situation in the state, including status of non-bailable arrest warrants and seizure of illegal arms.

BJP has demanded immediate deployment of central forces in the state while TMC/AITC maintains no such action is possible until elections is officially announced by the Commission. EC had organized a 7-phase polls in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had opposed the deployment of central forces. BJP won 18 seats out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state while TMC won 22. In terms of Assembly segments, TMC/AITC is ahead in 164 seats, while BJP is ahead in 121 seats.

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