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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Panchayat elections: People disappointed with poll panel, says C.V. Ananda Bose

Government officials say refusal of governor to accept joining report will not lead to Rajiva Sinha's removal

Pranesh Sarkar, Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 23.06.23, 05:51 AM
CV Ananda Bose plants a sapling at Haldia Refinery on Thursday.

CV Ananda Bose plants a sapling at Haldia Refinery on Thursday. Anshuman Phadikar

Governor C.V. Ananda Bose on Thursday said he had believed that Rajiva Sinha would conduct the panchayat polls in a free and fair manner when he had appointed him as the head of the state election commission (SEC) but people were disappointed with the panel's apparent inaction.

On Wednesday night, Bose had refused to accept the joining report of state election commissioner Sinha.

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Although Bose did not specify on Thursday whether he was giving an explanation for his action, a section of government officials said the refusal of the governor to accept the joining report would not lead to Sinha's removal.

“I had appointed the state election commissioner trusting that he would conduct the election in a free and fair manner... But I find that people are disappointed about the apparent inaction from the election commission. I have seen in the field that people are in a state of fear,” said the governor in Haldia on Thursday.

The governor said he had appointed Sinha from a panel of officers given to him by the council of ministers but he failed to do his duty. “Yes, I appointed him from a panel which was given to me by the honourable council of ministers. All of us expected him to do his duty,” said the governor.

The governor said the poll panel should be accountable for the deaths reported during the nomination filing phase.

“There is bloodshed. The election commission is accountable for every drop of human blood that is shed in the field. People want action, not an alibi for an action,” the governor said.

Although the governor expressed his lack of trust in the poll panel chief and refused to accept his joining letter, the removal of the poll panel chief is not an easy task.

Sources said the governor could initiate the process of removing the poll panel chief but the process was easier said than done.

“The governor can initiate the process for removal of the state election commissioner on the grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity. For this, the governor has to refer the matter to the high court for an inquiry following which the high court has to conduct the inquiry and submit its report to the governor,” said a bureaucrat.

If the high court finds the poll panel chief guilty of misbehaviour or incapacity, then the governor can remove him from office, he added.

The poll panel chief will have options to challenge the decision of the governor in the Supreme Court.

“So it is clear that rejecting the joining report meansnothing. It is merely an act that can draw attention,” said a source.

A section of the officials said by refusing to accept the joining report of Sinha, the governor perhaps wanted to send a message.

“It sends a message that the poll panel chief was not doing what he should do to make the polls trouble-free. It assumes significance because the BJP leaders were raising the same questions,” said a bureaucrat.

BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta had taken to Twitter on Wednesday morning to express his dismay over the functioning of Sinha.

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