Election Commission to despatch team to Bengal

A high-level team will visit the state on Saturday

By Pranesh Sarkar in Calcutta
  • Published 14.03.19, 3:20 AM
  • Updated 14.03.19, 3:20 AM
  • a min read
  •  
The BJP delegation after their meeting with the Election Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday Picture by PTI

A high-level team from the Election Commission of India will visit Bengal on Saturday to hold meetings with the administration and political parties apparently to take stock of the ground situation ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The decision was communicated to the state government two hours after a BJP delegation, including central ministers, had met EC officials in Delhi and demanded the appointment of a “media observer” to ensure free and fair polls, the declaration of Bengal as a “super-sensitive” state and the deployment of central forces in every polling booth. 

The EC team, to be led by deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain, will meet the chief secretary, home secretary and the director-general of police, besides all district magistrates and police superintendents.

“The deputy election commissioner doesn’t usually hold meetings with the chief secretary and the home secretary during visits to the state,” said a senior Nabanna official.

Bengal government sources said the full bench of the EC usually visits a state twice — before and after the declaration of polls — and holds meetings with officials, including the chief secretary and the home secretary, in addition to district officials and politicians.

The deputy election commissioner also visits the state twice. Usually, the official’s tour precedes one by the full bench of the EC.

“The full bench of the EC has already visited Bengal once,” said another official.

Nabanna sources said the top brass were expecting questions on law and order. “The ADG (law and order) is sending daily reports to Nirvachan Sadan. The reports don’t hint at any abnormality in the state,” said an official.

The EC has decided to send 10 companies of central forces to Bengal on Friday for deployment.