By bappaditya paul
TAKING A SUO MOTU COGNISANCE, the Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) has sought a probe report from the district magistrate of Cooch Behar on Trinamul district president Rabindra Nath Ghosh’s controversial remarks about the coming civic polls.
In an unrelated development, the SEC has shot a letter to the Bengal Director General of Police asking him to alert all police stations in the state to effectively respond to complaints of atrocities on Opposition party candidates / workers and ensure their safety and security. A copy of this communique has been marked to the state Home Secretary Basudev Banerjee.
The poll panel is likely to convene a meeting with the IG law and order over the issue next week.
Mr Ghosh, who is an MLA from Natabari Assembly segment in Cooch Behar and a Parliamentary Secretary in the Public Works Department, allegedly urged party workers on Friday to “ensure that every single vote is cast in favour of the Trinamul and for this the party will facilitate all necessary backing from the administration.”
He said this while addressing a party workers meet in Cooch Behar town in connection with the 25 April civic polls in the district.
“I saw the clippings of Mr Ghosh’s speech on a television news channel last night and prima facie it seemed to have violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that is in force for the civic polls. I have written to the DM Cooch Behar today asking to probe into the matter and send a report at the earliest,” state election commissioner S R Upadhaya said this evening.
He said that the poll panel would decide on the next course of action based on the DM’s probe report.
“Let us wait for the report. At this moment all I can say is that there are separate punitive provisions for electoral offences and offences of criminal nature. This ranges from show-causing an offender to lodging an FIR to recommending action to the Election Commission of India against the party to which he or she belongs,” Mr Upadhaya elaborated.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 05 April 2015.)