Election Commission to visit West Bengal to review poll preparedness
A team of officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI), including chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, will arrive in West Bengal on Wednesday night for a two-day visit to review poll preparedness in the state.
Ahead of the visit, the Trinamool Congress government on Tuesday appointed IAS officers Smaraki Mahapatra and Sanghamitra Ghosh as the joint chief electoral officer and additional chief electoral officer, respectively, according to an official quoted by news agency PTI. "Both the officials have been asked to be present during the visit of the full bench of the EC," the official said.
The Election Commission bench is expected to meet chief electoral officer Ariz Aftab and additional director-general (law and order) Gyanwant Singh, who is also the nodal officer of the state police, on Thursday. They are also scheduled to meet representatives of political parties before meeting officials of the central and state regulatory agencies.
The officials will also conduct a review meeting with divisional commissioners, district election officers and senior police officers over the assembly elections in the state, PTI quoted sources in the state poll panel as saying. The EC will also be meeting chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, home secretary HK Dwivedi, DGP Virendra and other senior officials, they added.
Before heading to Bengal, the CEO on Tuesday met inspector-General of CRPF PK Singh and Inspector-General of BSF AK Singh to discuss the availability of security forces during the assembly elections in the state.
The EC visit to Bengal comes at a time when the ruling TMC and Opposition BJP are at loggerheads over the law and order situation in the state. There have been several episodes of violence in West Bengal, including an attack on the convoy of BJP national president JP Nadda, who was there to address a poll campaign rally.
The 294 seats of the Bengal assembly go to polls later this year as the tenure of the TMC government led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee ends on May 30.
(With agency inputs)