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Home » National » LS polls: ECI chooses police Nodal Officer in Bengal rejecting first choices of Govt

LS polls: ECI chooses police Nodal Officer in Bengal rejecting first choices of Govt


Kolkata, Feb 17

In a major departure from established norms, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has chosen the Nodal Officer of police for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, instead of assigning that responsibility to the Additional Director General (Law & Order), in West Bengal.

Anand Kumar, who is currently the Additional Director General (Legal) of state police, has been appointed as the Nodal Officer, after rejecting the first choice of the state government on this count.

Veterans in the state government with long experience of conducting elections say that this is a deviation from the long-followed practice of the state police Additional Director General (Law & Order) playing the role of the Nodal Officer of police for any election in West Bengal.

It is learnt that on the ECI’s demand, the West Bengal Government recommended the names of three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers but the commission rejected all three names.

Thereafter, sources said, the government had recommended the names of three other IPS officers and Kumar’s name was on that list.

Finally, the ECI approved Kumar’s name.

Observers say that the development is quite significant as the ECI has conveyed to the state government that it will be keeping a close eye on the administration during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The ECI’s outlook of the law and order situation in West Bengal is reflected in the fact that recently the commission sought the deployment of 920 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces in the state for the Lok Sabha polls, which is the highest among all Indian states.

Sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), West Bengal said what the commission is actually planning will become evident after the full Bench of the ECI arrives in the state for a two-day visit from March 4 to take a stock of the poll preparedness.

Besides holding meetings with the top bureaucrats and police officials, the full- Bench of the commission will also be meeting representatives of political parties in the state.

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