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‘Pro-Cong’ BDO lands in trouble

Guwahati, Jan. 25: The state election commission today “removed” from poll duty a block development officer pos-ted in Karbi Anglong after he was allegedly caught on camera while campaigning for the Congress in Nagaon district.

Television footage allegedly showed the BDO, Nazrul Islam, campaigning for the Congress at Rupahihat in Nagaon district on Thursday.

State election commissioner Biren Dutta said he had acted against Islam based on field reports and had also asked Nagaon deputy commissioner P. Ashok Babu to submit a report to him. “Since the state election commissioner needs to be seen as acting against any unfair practice, I have removed him from poll duty. Future action will be based on the report I receive from the Nagaon deputy commissioner — whether to recommend departmental proceedings or try him in a court of law,” Dutta said, citing lack of material evidence to take any further steps against the block development officer.

Sources told The Telegraph that Dutta’s action had been rendered null and void by the deputy commissioner’s report, which had already been submitted. The report revealed that though Islam lived in Nagaon, he was posted in Karbi Anglong — a Sixth Schedule area where panchayat polls are not held.

“Now the state election commissioner and the government will have to move the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council seeking action against Islam,” a source said.

It was initially believed that Islam was from Rupahihat in Nagaon district.

Sources said the deputy commissioner in his report, a copy of which was sent to the state panchayat and rural development department, had mooted strong action against Islam, who was allegedly soliciting votes for the Congress because it would be in power for three more years.

Congress got a third straight term by winning the 2011 Assembly elections.

Opposition parties, however, were quick to grab the opportunity. “Our fear of the ruling Congress using the government machinery to swing votes in its favour is not unfounded. This is one reason we had moved the state election commissioner not to deploy only Assam police personnel for poll duty — because they can be influenced,” AIUDF legal cell chairman Jenat Mollah said.