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C'garh is problematic state, says JM Lyngdoh

Describing Chhattisgarh as a problamitic state, CEC took the state bureaucracy to task for showing pro-Congress 'bias', reports Pradip Kumar Maitra.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2003 14:02 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra

Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh has described Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh -- two of the five states that go to the polls on December 1 -- as "problematic" states. He has also taken the Chhattisgarh bureaucracy to task for showing a "partisan attitude" towards the ruling Congress party while conducting poll duty.

"There is an impression that the administration is not neutral in some districts of Chhattisgarh," he said in Raipur on Tuesday, after a meeting with district collectors and superintendents of police from all over the state. "I was confident of smooth and fair elections even in Gujarat. After the riots, the state bureaucracy proved to be professional. But I am not so confident about Chhattisgarh."

Lyngdoh was in Raipur with three central election officials to take stock of election preparations in the state and hear the complaints of different political parties about violations of the model code of conduct. During the meeting, he reportedly cracked the whip on the senior officials, asking them to fall in line and execute election work in a non-partisan manner.

A war of words has been going on for several weeks now between the Congress and the opposition parties, particularly the NCP and the BJP, over the alleged bias of certain SPs and collectors conducting poll work. Lyngdoh has already transferred two district collectors for personally undertaking election-related work for the Congress.

Other issues that cropped up during the meeting included replacement of government hoardings with those of the Congress party, distribution and transportation of school bags carrying Chief Minister Ajit Jogi's photos despite a ban, raising communal feelings through pamphlets, misuse of Akashwani and Doordarshan for election campaign, and using government employees for poll works by some ministers.

The CEC assured opposition parties that the Election Office would verify their complaints about the "bias" of local officials and act accordingly. He directed the state chief secretary not to engage government officials in election work in those constituencies where their minister is contesting.

Helicopters for naxalite-hit areas

The Election Commission has decided to use helicopters in the remote, naxalite-hit areas of Bastar and Sarguja for transporting election materials and personnel.

There are around 100 polling booths in these areas with no mode of transportation whatsoever.

The state's chief election officer, Dr KK Chakraborty, asked for two-three helicopters for these areas, but Lyngdoh later said that this won't be enough.

First Published: Nov 05, 2003 12:00 IST