Kolkata: Alapan doesn’t take poll position, vague on repoll | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Kolkata: Alapan doesn’t take poll position, vague on repoll

Interim state election commissioner (SEC) Alapan Bandyopadhyay took charge of the poll machinery on Wednesday and in his first few comments to the media remained largely noncommittal on the issue of repolling in Salt Lake and Asansol municipalities and completing the half-finished election process.

kolkata Updated: Oct 08, 2015 17:08 IST
Alapan Bandyopadhyay arrives in Kolkata from Thimphu on Wednesday to take charge of state poll panel.
Alapan Bandyopadhyay arrives in Kolkata from Thimphu on Wednesday to take charge of state poll panel.(Prateek Choudhury/HT Photo)

Interim state election commissioner (SEC) Alapan Bandyopadhyay took charge of the poll machinery on Wednesday and in his first few comments to the media remained largely noncommittal on the issue of repolling in Salt Lake and Asansol municipalities and completing the half-finished election process.

On Wednesday, Bandyopadhyay stepped down as the transport secretary after a chorus of protests from the opposition. Simultaneously, the state government on Wednesday began a hunt for a permanent election commissioner.

Sources told HT that Kashi Nath Behera, who retired in early 2014 as principal secretary of the cooperative department and served as the managing director of BENFED for another year is among those short-listed for the post.

“I don’t think there will be any re-polling on Thursday. We are still examining the matter. I should be given more time. I would not like to make any half-baked comments,” Alapan told the media in the evening. In the morning, he arrived in the city from Thimpu where he had gone on a five-day trip with the chief minister.

Asked if video footage of violence and rigging aren’t enough for ordering a re-poll, Bandyopadhyay said that there is no time limit for examining video footage. He also said there is 2000 hours of video footage that the commission will have to go through before taking a decision.

The new SEC said he has been holding discussions with lawyers and commission officials to find a solution. Explaining why no repoll will be held on Thursday in spite of his predecessor SR Upadhaya ordering so, Bandopadhyay said, “No notification was issued by him though he had announced that repolling will be held on October 8. As a temporary state election commissioner I am here to finish a task that was initiated.

Though Bandopadhyay did not say so, it was clear that the counting of votes will not take place on October 9, as it has to be preceeded by a notification 72 hours before the exercise.