Kolkata: Election authorities in West Bengal today ordered immediate removal of five SPs and one District Magistrate from poll duties in a major action that triggered a showdown with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who defied the directive.
A furious Banerjee said none of the officials will be shifted as long as she is the chief minister and dared the poll panel to act against her, asserting she is prepared to be arrested and go to jail.
“The Election Commission removed a DM and five SPs from their poll duties following complaints against them,” state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta told reporters here.
Gupta said that the removed SPs in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls were R K Yadav of Malda, Humayun Kabir of Murshidabad, S M H Mirza of Burdwan, Bharati Ghosh of West Midnapore and Jhargram police district (dual charge) and Sanjay Bansal, DM, North 24 Paraganas.
The EC has asked the state Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra to execute the order immediately, he added.
It also directed that the state government might give postings to the removed officials in non-election related posts with necessary intimation to the EC.
He said the SP of Birbhum Alok Rajoria has been transferred to fill up the vacant post of SP of Jhargram police district.
The EC also transfered a District Election Officer, an ADM and a returning officer.
The transfers came close on the heels of the visit of the full bench of the CEC here yesterday.
Banerjee reminded the Election Commission that it has its limitations. “Let you take the role of chief minister. Mamata Banerjee doesn’t care for power.”
“You take care of law and order then but I will not take any responsibility. I have not come to power by your mercy or Congress.”
Banerjee said that she is prepared to be arrested and go to jail.
Daring the EC, she said, “What will they do to me for saying this? I will be arrested and go to jail at most.”
She accused the EC of playing into the hands of Congress and BJP, saying the transfers had been ordered without consulting the state government.
“I came to know in this meeting that the EC has given order for transfer of five SPs without consulting the state government and the names of their replacement have also been announced (by EC).”
“I respect the Election Commission. But I will not bow down. I ask, will you only listen to what Congress will say in order to facilitate victory of Congress, BJP?,” Banerjee said while addressing a rally in Jamalpur in Burdwan district.
“It is a conspiracy by a media house, central government, Congress, EC, BJP and CPI-M. I will fight alone and I don’t care for your conspiracy. I only care for the people,” Banerjee said.
She went on to say, “I respect you (EC) but not by bowing my head. You control law and order. I have no objection. Don’t blame Mamata Banerjee if there is any problem. Either Mamata Banerjee will look after law and order or Election commission will look after law and order.”
“I challenge the Election Commision which I have never done before. You go and take steps in Narendra Modi’s state or from where Sonia Gandhi is contesting. After that you lay your hands on us,” she added.