The association for IAS officers has advised its members to stay away from social functions such as weddings and celebratory parties, especially those hosted by political leaders and their families, before the assembly elections that are due next month.
Though the advisory is meant for all the five states and a Union Territory that are going to the polls, the focus is on West Bengal where the Election Commission of India has taken a stern view of the situation and is monitoring the conduct of bureaucrats and police officers very closely.
Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi, who is known as a no-nonsense officer, has already struck ‘terror’ among the bureaucrats and police officers.
The commission ordered the transfer of four IPS officers, an IAS officer and 24 ICs from 24 police station areas last Thursday. It also transferred the superintendents of police of four districts including Burdwan, South Dinajpur, Malda and Nadia and the district magistrate of North 24 Paragana district.
The association has also dwelt on the risks that any violator may face and pointed that officers may receive negative comments by the poll panel in their annual confidential report.
“We are circulating dos and don’ts in the advisory. It will come handy to avoid negative observations by the ECI in the annual confidential reports (ACRs),” a senior bureaucrat posted at the state secretariat in Howrah said.
“In this age of ubiquitous cell phones, it is impossible to attend such functions and conceal it from social platforms and public domain,” another officer said.
The advisory is being circulated through email and mobile messaging service WhatsApp.
The association has also asked IAS officers to maintain a regular log-sheet of their day-to-day poll duty that they can refer to should the ECI seek any clarification.
Senior bureaucrats told Hindustan Times that IAS officers who are barred by the poll panel from poll-related duty will virtually have no chance of being considered for key posts in the state government such as chief secretary and home secretary.
In the case of central deputation, such officers will have hurdles in getting positions in key central government offices such as the Prime Minister’s Office, home ministry, ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions among others.