Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to victory for a record third time in a verdict that strengthened his prospects of being the party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014. BJP workers wear masks of Narendra Modi at an election rally in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Women are going to play very important role in the Gujarat assembly polls to be held in two phase on December 13 and 17.
However, not as candidates contesting the polls either representing any political party or independents but chief electoral officer (CEO), collectors in as many as five districts and Superintendent of Police (SP) at four districts.
This is for the first time during elections; five women collectors are involved in the electoral process in five districts, which have 35 assembly constituencies.
Anita Karwal, 1988 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, is the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), conducting the assembly polls for 182 assembly constituencies spread in 26 districts in the state.
Appointed as CEO in March 2009, she was the first lady officer to be appointed as CEO. She also conducted 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
"For the first time, five districts have women collectors at the time of assembly polls and four districts have women as SPs. I am very happy that such a beautiful coincidence of so many women officers during my tenure," Karwal said.
The five districts are and collectors are, Manisha Chandra in Godhara, Shahmeena Husain in Sabarkantha, Dr Sandhya Bhullar in Navsari, Avantika Singh Aulakh in Bharuch and Shalini Agrawal in Tapi.
In fact, Shahmeena Husain and Shalini Agrawal were appointed as collectors of Sabarkantha and Tapi respectively following the Election Commission of India (ECI) removed the present incumbents who were perceived to be close to the ruling party.
Agrawal previously worked as DDO in Tapi and subsequently, she was transferred to Godhara in the same capacity.
The four districts were SPs are women are Sara Rizvi in Jamnagar, Nipuna Torwane in Valsad, Shobha Bhutda in Amreli and Gagandeep Gambhir in Ahmedabad (rural).
Sara Rizvi was also appointed as Jamnagar SP following the removal of SP Harikrishna Patel by the ECI.
There have been many complaints against many officials, particularly collectors and SPs regarding their "partiality towards the ruling party."
After examining the complaints, the ECI had ordered removal of four district collectors of Dahod, Tapi, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha while SPs of Jamnagar and Patan were also removed.
Interestingly, there has not been any complaint against any lady officer either as collector or SP.
"Here in Gujarat, we have not seen any woman officer going out of way to help the ruling party particularly at the time of polls," a Congress leader, who had submitted a detailed memorandum against many officials, said.
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