A day after the poll panel cracked the whip and issued transfer orders for 35 top police and district officials in poll-bound West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at it and questioned whether it will tap into votes from the electorate on behalf of the BJP and CPI-M.
“But tell me… if you don’t have faith in Bengal’s administrative system, then you ask (US) President Barrack Obama. He will supply police for you. Then you take them into the villages and see whether they are giving you votes or not.
“So what BJP… will the EC give you votes from each household? For CPI-M… will the Commission give the voters’ ballot to you?” Banerjee asked at a meeting in Jalpaiguri district.
The Election Commission on Thursday ordered the immediate transfer of 35 officials including four superintendents of police (SP) and a district magistrate.
Banerjee accused the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party of creating an “irritable situation”.
“See the places in which changes have been brought about. In some BJP is contesting or in others CPI-M is contesting or the Congress. I can challenge… I believe in Bengal’s police and I also have trust in Delhi and other police. You may not have faith. I have worked in central government twice before,” she said.
The largescale transfer of offcials comes in the wake of Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi’s “strict directions” to the election machinery on maintaining neutrality and impartiality.
On Tuesday, he said the EC had noted some laxity in the enforcement of the model code of conduct in some areas and by some officials.
A visibly-angry Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, demanded the EC refrain from deputing Delhi Police personnel during the capital’s turn for elections.
“My demand is if for Bengal polls, its own police are not being deputed, then, in the forthcoming days, in Delhi polls, Delhi Police should not be used. I will see that day… the Election Commission, what example you set,” she said.
Continuing her tirade, Banerjee added: “Bengal’s police will not work in Bengal’s election. They have to depute Delhi’s police. So who will work in Delhi’s polls? Will it be the US police or London’s police? I am asking a genuine question. You are saying you don’t believe Bengal’s administration… you don’t have faith in Bengal’s police.”
She also hit out the central government, saying it was behaving as if Emergency had been imposed.
“There is an elected government (here). Delhi is behaving as if Emergency has been imposed here… more than Emergency. It is being strict every single day. Ask the comrades… will you send US’s police. Fine, let BJP-Congress-CPI-M dispatch them. We will arrange for their travel and accommodation. US police will come attired in suit and boots and will lie in the village grounds. Villagers will cook for them and they will have relish it.”