LS-Polls : EC Orders Large-Scale Transfers Of Bureaucrats, West Bengal DGP



NEW DELHI, Mar 18: Seeking to ensure a level-playing field in the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission on Monday ordered the removal of the home secretaries of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and it also directed the shunting out of West Bengal DGP Rajeev Kumar.

Also, the secretary of the general administrative departments of Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh have been removed.

The decision to shift the West Bengal DGP was taken as the officer was removed earlier too from active election management-related duty during the 2016 assembly election in the state and in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the sources pointed out.

The EC has asked the state chief secretary to post Rajeev Kumar to a “non-election” related assignment, and, as an interim arrangement, post an officer immediately junior to him as DGP.

The state has been asked to send a panel of three officers who would be posted as the DGP.

The home secretaries of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were removed as they were found to be holding dual charges in the offices of the chief minister in the respective states. This may potentially compromise or be seen to be compromising the impartiality and neutrality required during the electoral process, especially in matters relating to law and order and deployment of forces, they noted.

The poll panel usually takes such action during the parliamentary and the assembly polls when an issue of conflict of interest or possibility of such officials disturbing a level-playing field for all comes up.

Ahead of elections, the EC always directs states to transfer officers connected with election related work, who have completed three years or are in their home districts. If such officers are not transferred by the states, the EC orders their removal.

Days after announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, the poll panel under CEC Rajiv Kumar also ordered the removal of Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, and additional commissioners and deputy commissioners.

Maharashtra had not complied with the directions of transferring such officers in respect of a few municipal commissioners and some additional and deputy municipal commissioners.

While conveying displeasure to the state chief secretary, the commission directed the transfer of BMC and the additional and deputy commissioners with the direction to report by 6 pm on Monday.

The chief secretary was also directed to transfer all the similarly-placed municipal commissioners and additional or deputy municipal commissioners of other corporations in Maharashtra.

The move comes after the commission comprising CEC Kumar and fellow ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu met here on Monday.

The elections for the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on April 19 followed by subsequent phases on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. Counting of votes will be undertaken on June 4.

Separately, assembly elections are being held in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Counting of votes for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim assembly elections will take place on June 2. (Agencies)


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