‘No confidence in chief electoral officer’, Bengal BJP tell poll observer
The Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s on Monday told the special central police observer for West Bengal for the Lok Sabha elections, Vivek Dube, the that it has no confidence in the chief electoral officer (CEO) of the state and reiterated its allegation that he was acting as an agent of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
A delegation of BJP leaders that was led by Mukul Roy, convener of the BJP’s election management committee in the state, even refused to speak to Dube in the presence of CEO Aariz Aftab.
“We have told the special police observer that we won’t discuss anything in presence of the CEO. If we do, the information will go to the ruling party and the state government within two minutes,” Roy told the media after a meeting with Dube in the afternoon.
The BJP leaders spoke to Dube only after the CEO stepped out of the room.
“There is a perception among the people of Bengal that the CEO of the state is partisan,” Roy said.
Though Aftab did not respond to the allegation, additional CEO Sanjay Basu said that they are only doing their job. “No comments. Someone has passed a comment, it is his matter,” said Basu.
Last week too, state BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar, while referring to their meeting with Basu over approval for the party’s theme song for the elections in Bengal, had accused him of being partial toward towards Trinamool Congress, Bengal’s ruling party.
Trinamool Congress leaders refused to comment on the BJP’s allegation.
On Monday, Dube also met the representatives of the major political parties TMC, BJP, Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Dube was sent to West Bengal after the Election Commission of India replaced K K Sharma, a former director general of the Border Security Force, following the complaints from the TMC and the CPI(M), both of which questioned Sharma’s neutrality, pointing out he attended a programme of an RSS-backed organisation in February 2018 in Kolkata.
Roy also asked that if Sharma was removed for attending an apolitical meeting last year,why shouldn’t senior police officers of the state, who were present at chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s dharna in February this year be removed from poll responsibilities.
On the evening of February 3, Mamata Banerjee had launched a dharna at Esplanade to protest the attempts of a CBI team to interrogate former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar for his alleged involvement in the Saradha ponzi scam. A few officers including Kumar, DGP Virendra (he goes by one name), Bidhannagar Police commissioner Gyanwant Singh, former ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma and ADG security Vineet Kumar Goyal were seen sitting beside the chief minister on a pavement where a stage was erected later at night.
Kumar and Virendra subsequently told the Supreme Court that they were present there to ensure the safety of the chief minister since it was a busy public place adjacent to a police outpost and left shortly thereafter. The officers also said that they were not present at the protest platform that was erected later.