Unbelievable as this may sound, the Mamata Banerjee administration has drawn up a list of 423 government employees, most of them lower and upper division clerks and members of the Trinamool-backed employees union. Although not official, their job: to keep watch over the watchdog of the panchayat elections — the 400strong army of poll observers.
The blueprint is the brainchild of the Trinamool Congress-backed United State Government Employees’ Federation (USGEF), an umbrella organisation of four ruling party-supported state employees’ unions. “The list has been drawn up and the employees will be given duties accordingly,” said Mrigen Maity, chairman of the core committee.
“Officials of the chief minister’s office wanted the list. We’ve prepared it and sent it to the CMO,” said Jiten Ghosh, president of the Nationalistic Confederation of State Government Employees.
“I’ve been briefed by our leaders. I was informed that I would be working as a ‘microobserver’ and my name is on the list,” said Sanjib Pal, an employee of the chief minister’s office and leader of the USGEF.
“There’s no post of ‘microobserver’ in panchayat elections. This post doesn’t exist,” said a senior officer of the State Election Commission.
But why is there a need to put in these ‘micro-observers’? Because, according to sources, the state government fears that most of the poll observers — a majority of them are WBCS officers — are either CPI(M)minded, or have links with the Left and that they could influence the polling process.