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Home / India News / Mizoram’s top election officer Shashank removed days before polls following protests

Mizoram’s top election officer Shashank removed days before polls following protests

The protesters had asked Shashank to quit by November 5 and leave the state after the principal secretary (home), Lalninmawia Chuaungo, was removed following the chief electoral officer’s complaint against him.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2018 07:30 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Thousands of people gathered outside the office of Mizoram’s chief electoral officer, S B Shashank, in Aizawl on Tuesday seeking his removal weeks before the November 28 assembly elections.
Thousands of people gathered outside the office of Mizoram’s chief electoral officer, S B Shashank, in Aizawl on Tuesday seeking his removal weeks before the November 28 assembly elections.(AFP File Photo)
         

The Election Commission on Thursday removed SB Shashank as Mizoram’s chief electoral officer (CEO) and appointed Ashish Kundra in his place, a move welcomed by parties and influential NGOs in the state.

The order came after a body of civil societies and students’ groups demanded Shashank’s ouster, following a row over allowing Bru refugees in Tripura to cast votes from there.

Kundra, a 1996-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre replaces Shashank ahead of the November 28 elections in the state.

The EC move ended a nearly two-week stalemate after the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (MNCC), which comprises several civil society groups, demanded Shashank’s ouster.

A team deputed by the EC was sent to Mizoram last week to meet representatives of agitating groups and state government. The poll panel issued a statement that it had accepted the “broad contours” of a joint resolution submitted by the MNCC.

While Shashank had alleged interference by the state government in poll preparation work, outgoing chief minister Lal Thanhawla complained to the Prime Minister’s Office and the home minister against him. A protest was also organised in the state, with people demanding his removal. Earlier, based on Shashank’s complaint, the commission had ordered the removal of Mizoram principal secretary (home department), L Chuaungo.

“Replacement of Shashank was what we wanted and the EC agreed to the demands of Mizos. We would not like to comment on the new CEO,” said Vanlalruata, chairperson of MNCC.

T Lalthangpuii, general secretary of Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP), the biggest women’s organization in Mizoram, thanked the EC for listening to the wishes of the people.

“I am sure with the decision to replace the CEO the elections in Mizoram will pass without any hiccups,” said JV Hluna, president of the state unit BJP.

ission on Thursday replaced Mizoram’s chief electoral officer (CEO), SB Shashank, and appointed Ashish Kundra to the post, a move welcomed by parties and influential NGOs in the state.

Kundra, a 1996-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre replaces Shashank ahead of the November 28 elections in the state.

The EC move ended a nearly two-week stalemate after the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (MNCC), which comprises several civil society groups, demanded his ouster.

A team deputed by the EC was sent to Mizoram last week to meet representatives of agitating groups and state government. The poll panel issued a statement that it had accepted the “broad contours” of a joint resolution submitted by the MNCC.

Kundra, who was posted as commissioner (general administration) and higher and technical education, is expected to ease the ongoing tension in the state.

While Shashank had alleged interference by the state government in poll preparation work, outgoing chief minister Lal Thanhawla complained to the Prime Minister’s Office and the home minister against him. A protest was also organised in the state, with people demanding his removal. Earlier, based on Shashank’s complaint, the commission had ordered the removal of Mizoram principal secretary (home department), L Chuaungo.

“Replacement of Shashank was what we wanted and the EC agreed to the demands of Mizos. We would not like to comment on the new CEO,” said Vanlalruata, chairperson of MNCC, who is also president of the Young Mizo Association.

T Lalthangpuii, general secretary of Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP), the biggest women’s organization in Mizoram, thanked the EC for listening to the wishes of the people.

“I am sure with the decision to replace the CEO the elections in Mizoram will pass without any hiccups. The new CEO is regarded as a fine officer and we hope he will do a fine job,” said JV Hluna, president of the Mizoram unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Following the MNCC’s demand for removal of Shashank, both Hluna and chief minister Lal Thanhawla, who also holds the post of Mizoram Congress chief, had written to PM Narendra Modi seeking his involvement to defuse the crisis.