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Opposition slams CM for shielding officers

Calcutta, April 9: The Opposition today came down heavily on Mamata Banerjee for announcing that the officers transferred by the Election Commission would be reinstated in their posts after the Lok Sabha polls.

The Opposition parties said the chief minister was trying to send the message that she would stand by district officials accused of bias towards the ruling Trinamul.

Most of the eight transferred officers have been accused by the Left, Congress and the BJP of bias and inaction on complaints of model code violation against Trinamul leaders. Today, the transferred officers were given “prestigious” posts in various departments.

“There appears to be a strategy in the chief minister’s defence of the transferred IAS and IPS officers,” CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said today.

“She wants to send the message to officials involved in poll work in the districts that she would be there for them, too, if Trinamul is allowed to have a field day during the Lok Sabha elections,” he added.

Mamata had launched a scathing attack on the EC for ordering the transfer of the officers and attributed motives to the move.

In the past, the CPM leadership had time and again been critical of the EC for directives against wall graffiti and conducting polls in several phases. Late chief minister Jyoti Basu had called then chief election commissioner T.N. Seshan a “mad dog” when the latter insisted on the issuance of voter identity cards for elections. But never had the Left challenged the constitutional body or openly tried to defy its orders.

Deb today drew attention to the fact that the Left government had not reacted when the then Nadia superintendent of police was removed by the EC for meeting Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during the then chief minister trip to the district before the 2004 Assembly polls.

Congress MP and former state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya accused the chief minister of trying to win the Lok Sabha election with the help of the administration and the police.

The Bengal BJP claimed that Mamata’s defence of the eight officers had “exposed the nexus” between Trinamul and the administration.