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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Bengal governor C.V. Ananda Bose scraps Cooch Behar tour after murmurs of alleged attempts to 'politicise' his position

The governor's reaction came after the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India, alleging that the party has “received credible information” that governor Bose “is once again planning to visit north Bengal during the silent period, including the day scheduled for polls”

Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 19.04.24, 10:29 AM
C.V. Ananda Bose

C.V. Ananda Bose File image

Bengal governor C.V. Ananda Bose has called off his planned visit to Cooch Behar on Friday after murmurs of alleged attempts to "politicise" his position.

Bose claimed he would not allow anyone to diminish the dignity of his office.

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The governor's reaction came after the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India, alleging that the party has “received credible information” that governor Bose “is once again planning to visit north Bengal during the silent period, including the day scheduled for polls”.

The TMC's letter further alleged that Bose wished to visit Alipurduar on April 18 and 19, despite the parliamentary constituency being slated for polls on Friday. The party accused Bose of attempting to meddle in the Lok Sabha elections.

Bose, in a statement on Thursday, said: "Under the Constitution no one can restrict the movement of a governor. However, I do not want to get involved in the unsavoury political controversy around me."

The governor added that he would be available to the people 24/7 at his "peace room" over emails and phone calls.

"My priority is to be with the people of Bengal. My focus is to fight against violence in the state, particularly during election(s). My field visits are for these purposes but there is an attempt to politicise the governor's office. I will not let anyone lower the dignity of the office of the governor," Bose added.

Earlier, the Election Commission wrote to him, advising him to restrain from touring Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19, as the "silence period" for the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls began on Wednesday evening, and it would have been a violation of the existing model code of conduct.

The Election Commission letter came after the governor had written to it, expressing his desire to visit Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19. Three constituencies, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar will go to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Friday.

In response, the commission also made it clear that under Section 126 of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951, the "silence period'' for 1-Cooch Behar commences on April 17, at 6pm, thereby calling for the imposition of various restrictions by the election authorities.

Furthermore, the commission emphasised that the entire district administration and police force would be fully engaged in election management on April 18 and 19. Therefore, diverting their attention to provide protocol and local security cover for this unexpected proposed visit of the governor, without an immediately discernible necessity, would disrupt their time-sensitive poll-related duties.

The commission has directed all district election officers and superintendents of police to ensure that all high-profile individuals, campaigners and political workers who are not voters of the respective election area shall promptly depart at the commencement of the "silence period" and thereby ensure the integrity of the polling process.

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