Review Cooch Behar SP’s Transfer, Trinamool Asks EC

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Kolkata: Describing the Election Commission order transferring Cooch Behar police superintendent Abhishek Gupta as “arbitrary, motivated and biased”, the Trinamool Congress on Tuesday lodged a protest with the EC and urged it to review the decision “to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution”.

In a three-page letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, Trinamool Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien alleged the order was passed at the “behest of the ruling party at the Centre (BJP), its national leaders, as well as its local representatives in West Bengal”.

A Trinamool Congress delegation is also slated to meet CEC Sunil Arora on Wednesday on the issue. “We would like to raise strong protest against the order, the decision by the Election Commission, just two days before the date of vote, is arbitrary, motivated and biased,” said O’Brien.

Refering to BJP leaders’ statements, particularly Mukul Roy, at a recent election meeting in Cooch Behar threatening Gupta with dire consequences, the letter said a complaint was submitted by the Trinamool, but the EC had not taken any action.

“Your action clearly indicates that such decision has been taken as per his (Roy’s) instruction and compel us to question the bona fide of the decision. It is amply clear that the EC has been complying with the direction of the BJP leaders,” said O’Brien.

Stating that the EC does not have “unfettered powers to interfere with the course of administration that is unconnected to polling”, he said the poll panel could not engage in “unchecked, arbitrary and uncanalised” exercise of power.

Accusing the BJP and its leaders of “blatantly violating the Representation of People Act and the model code of conduct”, O’Brien said “no concrete action has been taken against them”.

He pointed out that Gupta’s replacement, Amit Kumar Singh, has been deputed by the state government as a police observer in Bihar. “Bringing him to the post of SP, just 48 hours before elections, shows the EC does not expect to conduct the election in a proper manner.

“The new incumbent does not have adequate experience to perform duties as SP in Cooch Behar district due to his lack of knowledge of the area and its people. Putting him in charge of the district just 48 hours before the election date can significantly jeopardise effective management of these areas,” the letter said.

“You’r are called upon to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and I urge you to review your decision. We sincerely hope at the crucial juncture of election, you shall take appropriate action in conducting free and fair poll without being influenced by any political party,” the letter added.