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Bengal polls 2021: EC removes 3 DMs before voting

The move came after the poll panel changed eight returning officers in the city on Tuesday
Election Commission of India

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 08.04.21, 01:30 AM

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday removed the district magistrates of East Burdwan, West Burdwan and South Dinajpur which would go to the polls in the next few phases.

“Such removal of officials, who are leading election preparations in districts, just ahead of the voting hurt the morale of the administration. Everybody in the administration is trying hard to ensure free and fair polls,” said a senior official.

According to the order sent to the Bengal chief secretary on Wednesday, the poll panel appointed C. Murugan, a 2007-batch IAS officer, as the district magistrate of South Dinajpur, replacing Nikhil Nirmal.

Similarly, 2009-batch IAS officer Shilpa Gaurisaria would take charge as the district magistrate of East Burdwan to replace Enaur Rahman. The new West Burdwan DM is a 2007-batch IAS officer Anurag Srivastava who replaced Purnendu Maji.

South Dinajpur would go to the polls in the seventh phase on April 26.

East Burdwan would go to the polls in two phases — fifth and sixth — on April 17 and 22. Voting will be held in West Burdwan in the seventh phase on April 26.

“The new DMs would not get much time to get acquainted with the ongoing poll preparations. Inexperience of the newly appointed officers could hurt the poll preparedness at the last moment,” said an official.

The ECI on Wednesday also removed seven assistant returning officers in Calcutta. The move came after the poll panel had changed eight returning officers in the city on Tuesday.

Sources in the ECI said the three DMs had been removed after specific complaints had been lodged against them.

“In case of returning officers and assistant returning officers, the ECI was forced to remove them as they had been posted in the respective positions for more than three years. Had the state removed them according to the guidelines, the ECI would not have to intervene,” said a source.

Earlier, the Election Commission had ordered removal of Virendra as the director general of police of poll-bound Bengal with immediate effect and appointed P. Nirajnayan in his place. The panel had removed many other district magistartes also after the polls had been announced.

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