Hours after the Election Commission (EC) ordered the transfer of five superintendents of police and three district magistrates and additional district magistrates on Monday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took a defiant stand, saying she would “not remove a single officer” and was ready to face the consequences.
“I will not remove a single officer. Let the EC come and arrest me. I throw this challenge to the EC. I will put in my resignation… I want to see how the EC takes charge of the state’s law and order. I will not be responsible if Jangalmahal is on fire again. How can they transfer so many officers without consulting the state government,” said Banerjee, addressing public meetings in Jamalpur and Pandua in Burdwan district.
“I know how to fight. I will fight it out alone. The EC has got its limitations too — it should have known,” she said. Banerjee alleged that the poll panel was acting at the behest of the Congress and wanted to ensure the victory of its candidates like Adhir Chowdhury and Manas Bhuniya from the districts where the transfers have been ordered.
In its communication to the state chief secretary, the EC ordered the transfer of Birbhum SP Alok Rajoria, West Midnapore SP Bharati Ghosh, Murshidabad SP Humayun Kabir, Burdwan SP M H Mirza, Malda SP R K Yadav, North 24 Parganas DM Sanjay Bansal, Mathurapur Addl DM Alokesh Prasad Roy and West Midnapore Addl DM Arindam Dutta.
State Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta sent a copy of the letter to the TMC government. The EC order comes after the full bench of the poll panel met representatives of political parties, government officials and election officials in Kolkata over the weekend.
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Asked why the transfers had been ordered, Gupta said, “The EC met representatives of political parties, chief secretary, home secretary, DIG (law and order), political parties, district magistrates, police officers and Income Tax officials. The decision was taken after that.” EC sources said questions were raised about the “impartiality” of these officials.
In its letter, the EC said the officials should be transferred to “non-election related and non-field” posts by Tuesday.