Despite a series of complaints against West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sunil Gupta by several opposition political parties, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath Sunday gave him a clean chit even as he warned officials of stern action if they were found guilty of partiality or inaction.
“The Election Commission is satisfied with the performance of its officials,” Sampath told reporters here after reviewing poll preparedness in the state, besides interacting with representatives of political parties, chief secretary, home secretary, DIG (law and order), district magistrates, police officers and income tax officials.
It was learnt that during the meeting, the CEC expressed dissatisfaction over the works of the SPs and DMs of Bankura, Nadia, West Midnapore, Burdwan and North-24 Parganas.
“The officers have been given strict instruction for maintaining neutrality while taking action in regard to the complaints received for violation of model code of conduct. The Commission will come down heavily on those officials against whom complaints of partiality and inaction will be proved,” the CEC said, adding that all the model code violation complaints were being looked into.
Replying to a question on demands by opposition political parties for conducting the entire election process with deployment of central forces, Sampath said, “Force deployment will be more than double of what it was in the last election. Each polling station will be covered by two armed guards Further 214 flying squads and same number of static surveillance team would be deployed.”
A total of 6.24 crore electorate in West Bengal would cast their vote from 77,243 polling stations, where elections would be held in five phases beginning April 17, Sampath said.
It was found out that 53 companies of armed forces will be deployed in Jalpaiguri out of which 50 companies would be on election duty while three will be kept in reserve. “North-24 Parganas will get 88 companies, North Dinajpore 27 and Murshidabad 75,” a senior official said.
On the complaints of BJP against chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Sampath said, “We will look into the CDs,” he said.