Mamata government makes key poll appointments ahead of EC visit

KOLKATA: Another police observer for the assembly elections in West Bengal Anil Kumar Sharma arrived here on Wednesday to oversee preparedness for the polls, a source at the CEO’s office said.

The Election Commission had on Monday appointed Sharma, a retired IPS officer, as the new police observer.

The poll panel had earlier appointed Ajay V Nayak as the special general observer and Vivek Dubey as the special police observer.

They have been holding meetings with government officials to overview poll preparedness and take stock of the law and order situation in the state.

“The new police observer will meet the officials soon,” the source at the office of chief electoral officer said.

B Murli Kumar has also been appointed as the special expenditure observer.

Elections to the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.

Votes will be counted on May 2.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Wednesday removed the superintendent of Howrah (Rural) Soumya Roy aS Trinamool Congress has nominated his wife, actor Lovely Moitra as candidate for Sonarpur Dakshin assembly constituency in South 24 Parganas district for the coming Assembly poll in West Bengal, an official said.

Roy was replaced by Shrihari Pandey and will not be allowed any poll duty this time, he said.

“The transfer is based on a general principle that close relatives of active public representatives may not be assigned such duties during elections which may create perception of biases/partiality,” the poll body official said.

The EC asked state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to confirm that all senior officials connected with the conduct of elections have given the certificate that they are not a close relative of any of the contesting candidates in the coming assembly poll in West Bengal.

The EC should be informed immediately if there is any such case, the communication said.

Incidentally soon after Moitra was named as the TMC candidate by party supremo Mamata Banerjee on March 5 the EC had received several complaints questioning how her husband could continue as the SP of Howrah (Rural).

In another directive the EC said that if an officer needed to leave his/her headquarter then specific written permission of the chief secretary has to be obtained before they do so during the election period.

The chief secretary should ensure that such officers do not get involved in any way with political activities of their spouses, it added.