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After TMC attack, top West Bengal poll officer quits

Confirming this, Governor K N Tripathi, who met Upadhyay in the evening, said, “At around 3.45 pm today, the state election commissioner came and tendered his resignation.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: October 7, 2015 10:46 am
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A day after he hit out at the ruling Trinamool Congress for protesting against his decision to defer the counting of votes for the civil polls, West Bengal state election commissioner Susanta Ranjan Upadhyay resigned Tuesday.

Confirming this, Governor K N Tripathi, who met Upadhyay in the evening, said, “At around 3.45 pm today, the state election commissioner came and tendered his resignation. I have received it and forwarded it to the government.” To a query whether he had asked Upadhyay to continue, Tripathi said, “No.”

Tripathi and Upadhyay have been under attack from the TMC for recommending deployment of central security forces during civic polls, allegedly without the state government’s knowledge. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in Delhi when the Governor’s recommendation reached the Union Home Ministry, claimed it was done without the state government’s knowledge.

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Later, several TMC leaders, including national spokesperson Derek O’Brien, alleged that a parallel administration was being run from Raj Bhavan and that it had become the “state BJP headquarters”.

Upadhyay was also targeted for his decision to defer the counting of votes. His resignation came after a series of dramatic events since October 3, the day polling took place for the civic bodies of Salt Lake-Rajarhat-Newtown, Asansol and Bally-Howrah as well as different levels of panchayats, amidst incidents of violence.

At Salt Lake-Rajarhat-Newtown and Asansol, mediapersons were threatened and attacked while covering the polls. The Opposition — CPM, BJP and Congress — complained that the polls had been rigged.

On October 4, Upadhyay announced that counting, scheduled for October 7, would be postponed because the State Election Commission (SEC) needed to go through video footage to determine if a re-poll was necessary at some booths.

This infuriated the TMC and its general secretary and education minister Partha Chatterjee, general secretary Subrata Bakshi, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee and mayor Sovan Chatterjee, along with councillors, staged a demonstration outside the SEC office.

The leaders met Upadhyay twice Monday. Later, at a press conference, Upadhyay said, “It is unprecedented that a political party did it. No one should try to influence the decision of a constitutional body in his or her favour. I will definitely look into it after the elections.”

Sources at Governor House said the state Home Secretary had met Tripathi Tuesday evening and recommended the name of Transport Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay as Upadhyay’s replacement. Bandopadhyay, who is on a tour to Bhutan with the CM, is returning to Kolkata to take charge Wednesday.

Upadhyay had succeeded Mira Pande, who had been at loggerheads with the state government during the municipal and panchayat elections of July 2014.

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  1. T
    TIHAEwale
    Oct 7, 2015 at 11:48 am
    God save West Bengal from becoming a full fledged Waste Bengal
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    1. K
      Kamalakanta
      Oct 7, 2015 at 9:17 pm
      What is the justification of the heading except maligning TMC Govt ( ) "The Opposition — CPM, BJP and Congress — complained that the polls had been rigged." Rigging is possible inside the booth or with the EVM machine, could any media produced any photo or proof of any such activities ( ) The state BJP announced the postponement of counting before the Election commission ( ) Is it fair on the part of Upadhay , the most irresponsible & worthless fellow ( ) "Tripathi and Upadhyay have been under attack from the TMC for recommending deployment of central security forces during civic polls " Will the learned columnist explain under which consutional authority the governor asked the central gov to send central forces
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      1. A
        amitava ghosh
        Oct 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm
        This what happens to officers who being stooges of politicians try to be honest.Political climate in WB is in shambles with goons having a free for all.With the new appointee hardly will there be a change.As top in the transport deptt.Mr.Bandhopadhya is still unable to clear the terminal benefits of retired employees.Until one moves court these employees do not receive their terminal benefits.Therefore the same fate may occur in this new deptt. too.
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        1. D
          DR. ARUP
          Oct 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm
          Resignation of the Election Commissioner is resulted from collective Humiliation from Ruling party opposition party Media also. Just go through the head lines and news of different Newspapers in previous 48hours. Now, the overactive media are hiding their roles and conveniently blaming the ruling party ALL of You are responsible for your indecent contributions
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          1. G
            Guru yadav
            Oct 7, 2015 at 9:06 am
            Suppose this begum of wb if continues as cm of wb w system of democracy will collapse & no meaning of democracy better to impose president rule in wb
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