A day after he was named the acting state election commissioner (SEC), Alapan Bandyopadhyay Wednesday said no repolling would be held at any booth of Bidhannagar, Asansol and Bally (in Howrah) municipal corporations as announced earlier by his predecessor S R Upadhyay. Bandyopadhyay also hinted that there will be no counting of votes on rescheduled date of October 9.
“There will be no repoll tomorrow (Thursday) as my predecessor did not pass any notification. The former SEC had said it orally and there is no written notification about repoll (on October 8) and counting (on October 9). We do not have the required time to make all the arrangements and notify the candidates,” Bandyopadhyay said after taking charge here.
He said he needed more time to examine the matter. “According to the manual of instructions, there is no minimum time limit set for counting, so I don’t visualise immediate decision on that front without more detailed examinations of issues,” Bandyopadhyay said.
On whether web camera footage can be used in arriving at a decision on repoll, he said it was being looked into whether there are any precedents or not. He also said that the commission is considering that “within this pressing time frame, whether it is possible to prepare a report after examining roughly 2,000 hours of footage”.
Former SEC S R Upadhyay, who resigned Tuesday in the wake of violence-marred civic polls apparently under pressure from political parties, had earlier announced before the media that there would be repoll in some booths and counting would be taken up on October 9.
Bandyopadhyay also ruled out resigning as the state’s principal secretary (transport department).
“The government of West Bengal, invoking a legal provision, has duly appointed me as state election commissioner. I have complied with that order. The government will decide whether I will continue as principal secretary (transport) or not. I will comply with that order. Since when has lawful orders of a lawfully constituted government been an offence?” he shot back when asked about whether his appointment to the post of SEC was controversial.
He said at present his job as the SEC was to finish a task, which has remained unfinished. “I will confine my role to this limited point,” Bandyopadhyay said.
Former state Congress president Manas Bhuniya, meanwhile, described the state government’s decision to appoint Bandyopadhyay as interim SEC as “unprecedented” and demanded that a permanent posting should be done before any further decision was taken on repolling or counting of votes in the civic polls.
“This is absolutely a complicated situation in West Bengal. It’s an unprecedented event and has never happened in West Bengal, not even in the country,” Bhuniya added.