Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora shows a document during a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, (PTI PHOTO)
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora shows a document during a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, (PTI PHOTO)

‘Best of the best’: Election Commission on poll observer deployed in Bengal

  • Poll panel officials said that special central observers are sent to each poll-bound state depending on the sensitivity of the state to look into law and order, expenditure and other aspects. The observers are usually retired bureaucrats who had held top posts in various central agencies.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:15 AM IST

The Election Commission of India would be deploying some of its ‘best of the best’ observers in West Bengal, who had earlier also been deployed in the state during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the BJP managed to make deep inroads.

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has hit back saying that it would be a big blunder.

The chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said that Ajay V Nayak, former chief electoral officer of Bihar, would be deployed as the special observer to West Bengal. He is a 1984 batch retired IAS officer.

“He is one of the best CEOs the commission ever had. Not that we have dearth of them but he was one of the best of the best,” said Arora.

Nayak was also deployed as a special observer in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP had won 40% of the vote share and 18 of the 42 seats emerging as the principal opponent of the ruling TMC. The TMC which got 43% votes had won 22 seats.

The ECI has also decided to send at least two police observers to West Bengal to look into the law and order. At least 125 companies of central armed police forces have already been sent to West Bengal.

“Retired IPS officer Vivek Dubey, a 1981 batch officer from Andhra Pradesh would be sent as IPS observer. He was the IPS observer in West Bengal in the last parliament elections also. Mrinal Kanti Das, a retired 1977 batch IPS officer of Manipur-Tripura cadre would also be sent. He was the observer in Tripura elections. Under different circumstance he had acquainted himself exceptionally well,” he added.

Earlier in January this year when the full bench of the ECI had visited West Bengal, the opposition parties had complained about deteriorating law and order situation in the state and rising violence.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee hit out saying: “I would humbly request the ECI not to look at West Bengal through the eyes of the BJP. Same man is being deputed as observer. In 2019, Vivek Dubey was the observer here. We know what he has done here. We know all the game and drama. BJP has the power of central agencies and the Union government. The Union government should not misuse its powers. If it is allowed it would be a big blunder and you will have to face the music.”

BJP’s state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said: “Disrespecting the ECI means the chief minister is disrespecting the Constitution. The people of Bengal will give a befitting reply to this.”

As expenditure observer the ECI is sending B Murli Kumar, a retired 1983 batch IRS officer.

Poll panel officials said that special central observers are sent to each poll-bound state depending on the sensitivity of the state to look into law and order, expenditure and other aspects. The observers are usually retired bureaucrats who had held top posts in various central agencies.

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