Congress, RSP and a section of intellectuals in West Bengal on Thursday placed a demand before a full bench of the Election Commission for the removal of state Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta against whom complaints were made also by other opposition parties, including BJP.
Senior Congress leader Manas Bhuniya alleged that the roles of Gupta and Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena were not beyond suspicion. “We are not happy with their roles. They should be removed,” he said and also demanded the removal of SPs and DMs of Birbhum and Murshidabad districts.
A group of intellectuals, including retired Supreme Court Justice Asok Ganguly, film actor Soumitro Chatterjee, filmmaker Aparna Sen, poet Sankha Ghosh and Samir Aich, also demanded Gupta’s removal. “The responsibility of the post of CEO and Deputy Election Commissioner should be given to someone else,” Ganguly said.
CPI(M), which has entered into an alliance with Congress, told Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, who along with other officials was on a day-long visit to the state to review poll preparedness, that Gupta has “not been discharging his duties properly”.
“We have raised our complaint against the CEO. He is in-charge and has not been discharging his duties properly,” CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said. Party leader Rabin Deb said they have lodged 156 complaints to CEC and CEO but got irrelevant replies from the CEO office.
“We never found CEO’s office taking any stern action against the misdeeds of the ruling party. There is still doubt about the integrity of some officers of the CEO office,” he submitted during a meeting with the full bench of ECI.
BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh also registered his protest with the ECI. “We are not satisfied. The elections are not as free and fair as they should have been. EC cannot be a mute spectator. The CEO office has not been able to win the confidence of voters,” Singh said.