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War casualty: babus' nerves

The war of words between EC and ruling Left is giving officials on election duty sleepless nights, writes Archis Mohan.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 13:31 IST

The war of words between the EC and the ruling Left Front is giving government officials on election duty more than sleepless nights. It is taking a toll on their nerves.

Some of them have turned to doctors and pills while others have written to the EC about their inability to be on duty, citing "protracted illness". A couple of them have even attempted suicide.

On Wednesday, a 54-year-old PWD employee was found hanging from the ceiling of his Krishnagar home near Kolkata.

Pradeep Sain, an asthmatic, was deputed in Nadia district, for the second phase on April 23.

His wife Bharati told the police that her husband had been tense ever since he got the call and this pressure drove him to the edge.

Wednesday's isn't a one off case. In mid February, a BDO in Murshidabad had con sumed poison after being transferred for dereliction of duty. Sushil Pramanik had been asked to revise electoral rolls.

Later, he was showcaused by the EC for anomalies. His family claimed Pramanik was a victim of politics as he had chanced upon several irregularities in the rolls and local politicians wanted him out of the way.

According to an EC official, requests from government servants to be spared from poll duty are dime a dozen. "For reasons best known, West Bengal's case is unlike any other state and hence the requests," said an official.

No doubt, the job is difficult. "It means you end up upsetting one party or the other," says an official. And no one wants to risk it.

Several of Dr Prantik Choudhary's patients are government servants. Their visits to his clinic have become more frequent now. "Many of them are over 45years-old. Election duty is making them sicker," he says.