New Delhi: Ahead of third phase of polling in West Bengal on April 23, the Election Commission special observer, Ajay V Nayak claimed that the situation in the state (West Bengal) is similar to what it was in Bihar around 10 to 15 years ago which had lead to the voters’ demand for deployment of central forces in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad parliamentary constituencies will go to the polls on Tuesday.

“The people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police and therefore their demand for deployment of central forces at all polling booths has increased”, Nayak, a former Bihar chief electoral officer, said.

“This situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 10 to 15 years ago. During that time in Bihar total deployment of central forces at the booths was required. Now it is required in West Bengal as the people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police and are seeking deployment of central forces at all the booths,”he told reporters.

Nayak, a 1984-batch IAS officer was recently given the responsibility to oversee the last five phases of polls in West Bengal. “I cannot understand that if people in Bihar were able to bring in a change in the atmosphere and situation there, then why this is not happening in West Bengal,”  he added.

Following his statement, TMC secretary general Subrata Bakshi wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora demanding immediate removal of Nayak to ensure free and fair polls in the state. “The Election Commission after two phases of polling had said, barring a few incidents the polling was peaceful. Nayak’s comments are highly misplaced. He is acting in a partisan manner with pre-conceived notions to destabilise elections in the state and create a fear psychosis among voters,” Bakshi said in the letter.

He claimed that Nayak has political and organisational allegiance to the RSS and is connected to BJP leaders. “His statements clearly indicate that he has acted as per instructions of his political bosses. It is therefore requested to immediately recall him or cancel his appointment as special observer in the state of West Bengal to ensure free and fair elections,” Bakshi added.