Assembly elections are underway in India’s West Bengal state since April 1, and results will be announced on May 2, following the eight-phase election.
The third round of the elections was held on Tuesday.
On the same day, the Election Commission took a big decision regarding the voting. The Election Commission has removed returning officers of eight constituencies of Kolkata that will go to the polls in the last two phases of the West Bengal assembly elections. The Election Commission announced this in a statement.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had objected to the reshuffle. She alleged that the Election Commission is doing all these at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.
According to the Election Commission, no one can hold one post for three consecutive years. In that case, the rule is to remove the concerned officer. But so far that rule has not been enforced in Kolkata.
Therefore, they have been removed as a routine move since they had held their posts for more than three years. However, at different times, the eight officers were accused of bias.
They also received multiple complaints at different times. But at no time did they pay attention to those allegations. Complaints were received against the officers for allegedly favouring the ruling Trinamool Congress. Then the news reached the Election Commission.
Upon receiving the news, the commission decided to remove them. According to the commission, the returning officers of a total of eight assembly constituencies in Kolkata have been removed. New officials have already been appointed in the Chowringhee, Entally, Bhowanipur, Beliaghata, Jorasanko, Shyampukur, Kashipur-Belgachia and Kolkata Port assembly segments.
The commission removed the returning officers of eight of the 11 seats. This time more than one heavyweight candidate is standing in these centres. Among them, Firhad Hakim is the Trinamool Congress candidate from Kolkata Port.
However, the returning officer of his area has also been removed.
This is not for the first time that the Election Commission has made such changes in several cases since the announcement of the vote.
Even the DG and the ADG of the state police have been replaced.