Mamata Didi is back at it again! To add spice to the polls in West Bengal, it’s incumbent Chief Minister and All India Trinamool Congress Supremo has gone all out against the Election Commission’s decision of transferring officials from her state. The petite Banerjee, known for her dramatic overtures, has not stopped at just making public statements but has also gone ahead and asked the EC to take legal action against her.
It all started out when the EC demanded the transfer of officials – five Superintendents of Police and a District Magistrate from the Bengal constituency. According to EC orders, the police superintendents of West Midnapore, Murshidabad, Burdwan, Birbhum and Malda were to be posted to non-election and non-field positions while naming officials who’d replace them. Also, the North 24-Parganas district magistrate Sanjay Bansal would be replaced by Omkar Singh Meena. The Election Commission also wanted a Mathurapur returning officer and the West Midnapore ADM replaced. The history behind these transfers goes back a few days when the State DGP had written to the Election Commission stating that all police personnel were being placed under its “superintendence, direction and control” under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. The transfers and the subsequent new nominations were facilitated as a result of complaints of bias against them. Now under general circumstances, the Commission selects from the list of probables suggested by the State Government for all new appointments. But this event, being an exception, (since allegedly there were specific complaints against each of these officers) the EC didn’t consult the State Government on this matter and went ahead with the transfer orders.
Didi, in full swing to cash in on the anti-BJP and anti-Congress vote bank in the constituency, made optimum use of this incident by targeting the Centre and the EC directly. She even hinted at the whole turn of events being a conspiracy by the EC to help her rivals (namely Congress, BJP, and the CPM) – something even the Trinamool supporters believe to be a hard selling strategy to gain the sympathy of her people. Going ahead and calling it quits with her former ally and deputy CEC Vinod Zutshi, who was in charge of Bengal when she came to power in 2011, she claimed that there was an arrest warrant against him stayed in the Supreme Court. Funny then, her righteous self was silent all these years and pounced out only she feared being dethroned as the CM! She also accused the EC of trying to rig the polls by transferring the SP’s of Murshidabad and West Midnapore and aiding the victory of Adhir Chowdhury (Berhampore) and Manas Bhuniya (Ghatal).
The West Bengal Chief Minister could have gone too far by defying the Election Commission this time, we feel; not only because the Supreme Court has defined who is in charge post the announcement of poll notifications but also the turn of events in a run up to the elections has put things into perspective for her voters (who, we presume, can differentiate between genuine concerns and election tactics)! Her antics, on a final note, might be the cause of her downfall, if the Election Commission decides on cancelling or postponing the polls in these constituencies following the non-transfer of officials as per Didi’s open challenge.