The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll panel taps governor

New Delhi, Nov. 17 (PTI): The Election Commission has asked Chhattisgarh governor K.M. Seth to ensure that its orders regarding the transfer of two district collectors are obeyed.

Flexing its muscles, the panel has also ordered the immediate transfer of two more senior officials of the poll-bound state for violating the model code of conduct. The commission today asked chief secretary Suyogya Kumar Mishra to immediately transfer the Surguja collector S.K. Raju and the Bilaspur superintendent of police, S.R.P. Kalluri.

On October 29, the election panel had ordered the Chhattisgarh government to transfer Jashpur collector B.S. Ananth and Bastar collector L.. Suryavanshi for violating the code of conduct.

Ananth’s transfer was ordered for travelling with chief minister Ajit Jogi in a private helicopter requisitioned by the Congress for campaigning and for participating in an official programme for distributing spectacles with Jogi’s wife Renu.

In Suryavanshi’s case, allegations were levelled by the BJP and National Congress Party that school bags with Jogi’s photograph on them were given out in Bastar even after the commission banned its distribution.

In a letter to the governor, the panel said: “In disregard of the orders of the commission and the orders of the high court, Chhattisgarh, the incumbent collectors continue to be in position, thereby seriously hampering the conduct of free and fair elections in these two districts for which the constitutional responsibility vests with the Election Commission.”

The commission has asked the governor, under Article 324(6), to ensure its order transferring the collectors to the state secretariat at Raipur is immediately implemented. It has also asked for names of IAS officers who could take their places.

The letter adds that Article 324(6) says: “… the President or the governor of a state, shall, when so requested… (will) make available to the Election Commission or to a regional commissioner such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the Election Commission by clause (1).”

The panel added that it had asked the chief secretary to implement the transfer orders immediately, but had not received a compliance report as yet. “It is understood that the transfer orders have not yet been given effect to,” it says.

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