West Bengal: Day before third phase, Election Commission transfers 7 police officers

The constituencies going to polls Tuesday are Balurghat, Maldaha Uttar (North), Maldaha Dakshin (South), Jangipur and Murshidabad. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra/File)

A day before the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state, the Election Commission (EC) Monday transferred seven police officers, out of which three are from two of the five constituencies that are going to polls Tuesday.

Those transferred are Saikat Roy, inspector in charge (IC) of Raghunathganj police station under Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency; Uday Shankar Ghosh, IC of Farakka police station; Bidhan Haldar, assistant sub-inspector of Shamsherganj police station under Malda South Lok Sabha; Ajay Mondal of Baraboni police station and Rajshekhar Mukherjee of Andal police in West Burdwan district, Krishnendu Ghosh, IC of Bijpur police station, and Sukamal Kanti Das, sub-pisional police officer of Bishnupur in Bankura district.

The constituencies going to polls Tuesday are Balurghat, Maldaha Uttar (North), Maldaha Dakshin (South), Jangipur and Murshidabad.

"The officers being transferred are not to be involved by the state government in any election-related duties and shall be relieved forthright…," read the transfer letter.

When the Special Observer for the state, Ajoy V Nayak, compared the law and order situation in the state with that of Bihar 15 years back on Saturday, the EC had removed Malda SP Arnab Ghosh.

Ghosh was the sixth IPS officer to be removed after the poll dates were announced. So far, 13 police personnel have been transferred.

The EC had removed Malda SP only three days before the polls in the district and Cooch Behar SP just two days before the first phase. Earlier, the EC had removed Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and appointed Rajesh Kumar as the new police chief. On the same day, the EC had also removed Bidhannagar police chief Gyanwant Singh and transferred the SPs of Birbhum and Diamond Harbour – Shyam Singh and S Selvamurugan respectively.

Natarajan Ramesh Babu, ADG & IGP, Operations, was posted as CP, Bidhannagar.

Avannu Ravindranath, DC (Airport Division), Bidhannagar, was posted as SP, Birbhum, and Srihari Pandey, DC, KAP 3rd Battalion, became Diamond Harbour SP.

With five constituencies going to polls Tuesday, the EC said it will have maximum number of central forces. "More than 92 per cent booths will be manned by CAPF. Total 324 companies will be deployed in the five constituencies," said Vivek Dube, Special Police Observer.

"Security of the voters and polling personnel is our top priority. We have taken all possible measures," said Additional CEO Sanjay Basu. The total number of polling station are 8,528 with maximum number in Murshidabad – 1,907.

Out of total 61 candidates who will be contesting Tuesday, six are female. Total number of electors in Balurghat is 14,29,783, Maldaha Uttar 16,83,797, Maldaha Dakshin 15,73,433, Jangipur 16,14,081 and Murshidabad 17,22,752. As per sources, the EC wasn't happy with the way the election was conducted in the first two phases and therefore, the additional forces have been deployed.

No complaint against Supriyo: EC

A complaint has been filed at Andal police station against BJP Asansol candidate, Babul Supriyo, for allegedly snatching camera of an EC official, who was video recording his rally. However, no FIR has been lodged against Supriyo.

In a statement before the media, Additional CEO Sanjay Basu had initially said that two FIRs have been filed against Supriyo - one for snatching camera from EC officials and another in connection with his song being played despite Election Commission’s ban. However, minutes later, officials at the Commission withdrew the statement saying there was no FIR lodged and that only one complaint was filed at Andal police station. Supriyo couldn’t be contacted for the same.