BJP Demands Ouster Of Bengal Addl CEO

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Kolkata: Amid a row over famed Bangladesh actor Ferdous Ahmed’s campaign for a Trinamool Congress candidate in West Bengal, the BJP on Tuesday demanded immediate removal of the Additional Chief Electoral Officer of the state Sanjay Basu, accusing him of working as a “mouthpiece” the state’s ruling party.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said Basu was working without coordination with state’s CEO Ariz Aftab and urged the Election Commission to look into the issue.

Referring to two video clips purportedly showing two Bangladesh actors –Ferdous Ahmed and Gazi Noor — campaigning for Trinamool Congress for the coming 2019 polls, Sinha alleged that Basu tried to trivialise the matter and safeguard the Trinamool candidate by saying that the model code of conduct (MCC) doesn’t specifically state anything about a foreign national canvassing for any political party.

“I think he (Basu) is working as the mouthpiece of Trinamool Congress. He is trying to safeguard the Trinamool candidate. We demand his immediate removal from the post. We have submitted a letter to the CEO about the same,” Sinha said.

He said BJP leaders had submitted a protest letter to the CEO about the incident on Sunday. “He acknowledged the issue as critical and said it has been informed to the EC. But Basu said he had received no complaints,” Sinha said.

“There is no coordination between the CEO and additional CEO. He is not worthy of this post as he does not have the basic idea about the country’s election process. An incident such as using a foreign national for campaigns has not happened before in India. So how can there be directions about it in the MCC?” he questioned.

The BJP had on Sunday lodged a complaint with the CEO through Whatsapp, accusing Ahmed of canvassing for Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal in Raiganj and demanded Agarwal’s candidature be removed if the action was found to be illegal.

However, Basu told the media persons that the MCC doesn’t specifically state anything about a foreign national canvassing for any political party. He said the matter has been referred to the EC for further clarification.

“Basu has tried to divert the matter. I personally believe that Jamat-e-Islami was behind this conspiracy. the incident should be probed by the NIA,” Sinha claimed.

He also accused Basu of trying to terrorise the voters of Bengal by repeatedly making media statements about the deployment of Central forces in the polling stations and questioned his right to make such statements.

“Before the first phase of polls, he had said that only four percent booths in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar will be manned by Central force. But in reality, CRPF were deployed in nearly 60 per cent of the booths. He has also said that only sensitive polling stations would have central force and the rest will be manned by state police force during the second phase of polling.

“By making such statements, he is trying to terrorise the voters of Bengal as people here remember the unprecedented violence during the state Panchayat polls when the booths were guarded by state police,” Sinha alleged.