Will come down heavily in cases of partiality or inaction: CEC
In a strict warning to officials, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath Sunday said the poll panel will "come down heavily" on them in cases of "partiality", "partisan conduct" or "inaction".
However, he said "by and large" the law and order situation in West Bengal was satisfactory.
The CEC ordered the election machinery in West Bengal to take "strict action" against intimidators and file status reports on cases involving Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations.
"The commission has made it very clear it will come down heavily on any official at any level if there are cases of partiality, partisan contact or inaction," Sampath told the media here after the full bench of the commission held a series of meetings with the political parties, bureaucrats, police officers and income tax officials in the state.
Sampath's warnings followed repeated allegations from the opposition parties that the administrative and police officials in various districts were "partisan" and pandering to the dictates of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
The opposition parties have also accused the state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta and his department of "inaction" in dealing with their complaints.
"Strict instructions were given to officers that they should maintain utmost neutrality, impartiality and remain non-aligned. They were also asked to ensure strict action be taken against anyone who causes intimidation to any political worker or any official in charge of election work," said Sampath.
"Complaints regarding violations of the model code of conduct should be viewed seriously, and attended promptly. Within the quickest possible time results should be shown. That would have a deterrence effect," he added.
The EC gave clear instructions regarding tackling intimidators and the action initiated in poll code violation complaints.
"They were also asked to step up preventive action like action under section 107 CrpC against intimidators and enforce other measures like deposit of arms and binding down the unruly elements and execution of non-bailable warrants," he said.
During the meetings, the full bench of the commission reviewed the violation of MCC cases initiated by the machinery and the First Information Reports filed by them and asked for status reports.
"They (election commission officials in Bengal) were asked to give a status report on both, in the next three days, on the present stage of action," he said.
Stating that by and large the law and order situation is satisfactory in the state, Sampath said the Bengal machinery was expected to refer, to Delhi officials, specific cases, specially those regarding senior politicians.
He also said the Commission is "satisfied" with performance of the Bengal office.
Number of polling stations in the state are 77, 243 in 51, 416 locations. Total number of electors are 6.24 crore.
(Posted on 06-04-2014)