Bengal polls: EC backs Dy Election Commissioner in-charge after TMC allegation
Rejecting the demand of the Trinamool Congress to remove Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of West Bengal Sudeep Jain for being allegedly biased, the Election Commission on Friday threw its weight behind the officer, saying it has "full faith" in his integrity and fairness.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal had on Thursday demanded the removal of Jain, accusing him of being biased against it and breaking norms of the federal structure.
In a statement, the poll panel said that all its deputy election commissioners and other officials posted in the commission's headquarters or working in the field are "discharging their duties strictly as per the Constitution of India and the various extant rules regarding the conduct of elections".
"There could be an odd exception here or there in which case the EC (Election Commission) takes corrective action immediately," it said.
The statement said in the immediate case, "the commission has full faith in the integrity and fairness of Sudeep Jain, DEC".
"Unfortunately, it is not for the first time that a concerted campaign is mounted against senior officers of the commission on the eve of or during the process of elections," it said.
Referring to allegations made by the TMC about two decisions taken by Jain during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as deputy election commissioner in-charge at EC for West Bengal elections, the panel said both the decisions were taken by the commission "in the interest of holding free, fair and peaceful elections".
The decisions were implemented by the district election machinery under the supervision of the deputy election commissioner, chief electoral officer (CEO), nodal police officer and other senior officials concerned, the EC said.
TMC spokesperson Sougata Roy had said on Thursday that party leader Derek O' Brien has written to the EC demanding that Jain be removed as he has a "track record" of being biased against it during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"During the last parliamentary poll, Sudeep Jain had taken several steps which were not only against the norms of the Election Commission but also against those of the federal structure. We don't have any faith in him. We (TMC) apprehend that this time too he will take steps which will either directly or indirectly help the BJP," Roy had said at a press conference in Kolkata.
The complaint was apparently given to the CEO of West Bengal, who sent a copy to the EC headquarters.
The assembly election in West Bengal this time, will see a stiff contest between the TMC and the BJP. It will be held in eight phases beginning with polling in 30 seats on March 27.