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Mamata relents, says will transfer officials

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said her government would comply with the Election Commission's order for removal of eight officials from poll duty after the panel refused to reconsider its decision on Tuesday.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2014 08:51 IST
HT Correspondent

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government would comply with the Election Commission's order for removal of eight officials from poll duty after the panel refused to reconsider its decision earlier on Tuesday.

Banerjee, however, maintained the poll panel was driven by a political motive. She said the officials would be brought back to their respective positions after the polls ended. The West Bengal chief minister had threatened to defy the order on Monday.

"The government will send a letter to the EC on Wednesday stating the EC acted unilaterally without consulting the state," an adamant Mamata remarked after agreeing to transfer the officials.

Read: Mamata refuses to budge, tells EC won't transfer officials

The EC earlier turned down a request by the West Bengal government to reconsider its order to transfer five district police chiefs and one district magistrate and gave the state administration time till 10am on Wednesday to take action.

"We have said the ECI order of Monday has to be executed verbatim. No modifications would be allowed and it has to be complied with by 10am on Wednesday," poll panel director Dhirendra Ojha told HT on Tuesday.

West Bengal chief secretary Sanjay Mitra wrote a letter to the poll panel on Tuesday morning, requesting that it reconsider the decision to transfer the officials. Mitra argued that the removal of the officials would lead to administrative difficulties in the region.

The chief secretary also attached a list of IAS and IPS officers who could replace the officials if the poll panel denied a rethink on its decision. The EC subsequently refused to modify its order and reiterated that the government had to comply with its order by Wednesday morning.

Read: Mamata fumes as EC transfers 5 Bengal cops, DM

The commission's order, which came a day after the full bench of the poll panel held wide consultations with state officials and political parties, was sent to the state chief secretary on Monday.

The poll panel discussed the issue of transfers and correspondence with the West Bengal government at meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking at a rally in Purulia earlier on Tuesday, Banerjee accused the Election Commission of being "biased".

Read: Good sense should prevail over West Bengal govt, EC; says Cong

"Our party posters and banners are being brought down, but those of the opposition have been left untouched. Despite our repeated complaints, the EC has not been taking action. It has been acting in a biased manner," she said.

The Trinamool chief also said with the increasing conspiracy against her, more votes would be polled in her favour in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Banerjee had on Monday refused to carry out the instruction of the poll panel and said she was prepared to go to jail. She called the poll panel an agent of the Congress, the BJP and the CPI(M).

Read: Polls in West Bengal could be cancelled if EC orders on transferring officials not followed

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