Lok Sabha elections 2019: After BJP, Bengal Congress leader criticises state CEO
A day after Bharatiya Janata Party Bengal unit leaders slammed the state’s chief electoral officer Aariz Aftab for his proximity to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), state Congress leader and four-time-MP Adhir Chowdhury lashed out at Aftab claiming that he was working at the behest of the TMC.
Chowdhury said that the Congress would move the Election Commission (EC) against him. “Aftab isn’t working impartially. He is following the precedent of the former state election commissioner, who was instrumental in helping the TMC to grab votes during the panchayat elections in Bengal last year,” said Chowdhury, who is seeking re-election from the Baharampur constituency.
Incidentally, last year state election commissioner A K Singh was in the eye of a storm, as the opposition parties alleged that he was acting in a partisan manner in the run-up to the panchayat elections. In the polls, more than one third of the seats were won by the TMC without any contest.
“Aftab is following the directions of the TMC leaders. He does not bother to respond to the complaints that we have been lodging. I have telephoned him and sent text messages on a number of days. But he did not receive the calls. Once or twice, he called me back only to say that he was very busy,” added Chowdhury, who was a former president of the Bengal Congress unit.
On Monday, convener of the BJP’s election management committee in Bengal, Mukul Roy, refused to speak to Vivek Dube, special central police observer for West Bengal (for the Lok Sabha elections) in Aftab’s presence.
“We have told the special police observer (Dube) that we will not discuss anything in the presence of the CEO. If we do, the information will go to the ruling party and the state government within two minutes,” Roy told reporters on Monday.
The BJP leaders spoke to Dube only after the CEO stepped out of the room. On Tuesday, Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury also alleged that some officers were trying to remain in the good books of the chief minister by “aiding the plan of the ruling party to loot votes.”
The CEO, however, was not available for comment. On Monday, additional CEO Sanjay Basu said that they were only doing their job. “No comments. Someone has passed a comment, it is his matter,” Basu had said on Monday.