The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM sour, not brazen
- Front meets today to discuss poll panel’s transfer order

Calcutta, March 19: The CPM hurriedly convened a meeting of its secretariat today in the wake of the Election Commission’s order to the government to transfer three top police officers accused of bias in election duty.

After the meeting, Jyoti Basu said the order was an “injustice”. “Our politburo will take up the issue with the Election Commission.” The party will send the poll panel a copy of its resolution pointing out that the transfers were ordered without any reason being cited.

The Opposition parties, however, had made specific complaints against deputy inspector-general, Malda range, Gaurav Dutt, North 24-Parganas superintendent of police Basudeb Bag and Nadia superintendent Benoy Chakraborty before the chief election commissioner on Wednesday.

The Left Front will discuss the issue tomorrow.

“The government, the people of Bengal and the police officers concerned should know why they are being transferred. These officers don’t know what crime they have committed,” Basu said at the CPM headquarters this evening. “Such an action is unexpected.”

The front partners echoed him. “The commission’s order to transfer the IPS officers is a surprise to us. We will discuss it at our meeting tomorrow,” said state Forward Bloc secretary Ashoke Ghosh.

However, Basu made it apparent that the CPM did not want a confrontation with the poll panel. Asked if the government was contemplating legal action against the commission’s decision, he said: “We repose our faith in the neutrality of the Election Commission and expect it not to allow any quarter to influence its decision.”

He was silent when asked whether the transfer order was prompted by the allegations of the Opposition parties.

Asked whether the officers will move court, Basu said: “For that, they require permission from the government and I don’t know what they will do.”

The order will not mar the CPM’s poll prospects, Basu said. “It is on record that the Election Commission thanked the state government several times for holding free, fair and peaceful polls,” he said.

In a press note, the CPM said Bengal “has earned the distinction of having held free, fair and peaceful elections during the last 27 years”.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee refused comment on the shift order. Asked if polls in the state were “free and fair”, Bhattacharjee said: “Definitely.” He also said that government officials were “unbiased” when it came to election work.

Chief electoral officer Basudeb Banerjee said the commission wants the government to replace the three officers after consultations with him.

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