While terming the attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram as an unfortunate “incident and deserves to be inquired into with promptitude and dispatch,” the Election Commission has said that it is rather unfortunate that the memorandum of the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) is full of “insinuations and averments” which question the very basis of the “creation and functioning of the Election Commission.”
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EC’s response comes after a delegation of AITMC handed over a memorandum to the Chief Electoral Officer of the state, which was forwarded to the Election Commission. The memorandum was signed by Partha Chatterjee, Derek O'Brien and Chandrima Bhattacharya.
The EC letter points out that it is entirely ncorrect to suggest that the Commission has taken over the law and order machinery in the State in the name of conducting elections and appropriated the whole governance structure.
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“This virtually tantamounts to undermining the very foundation and fabric of the Constitution of India. (The) Commission does not appropriate or take over the day to day governance of any state, including West Bengal which keeps on functioning as or shall as per the extant Rules of Business and distribution of work normally approved by Chief Minister in a State. It looks undignified even to respond to the allegations of all this being done on the behest of a particular political party,” the EC letter states.
The letter adds that the removal of the Director-General of Police, West Bengal was not done “summarily and without any application of mind.” It points out that it was the outcome of a recommendation by Special Observers Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dube. The letter states that when the Commission became aware of the unfortunate incident (in Nandigram) from the electronic media, (a) report was immediately sought from the Chief Secretary, West Bengal, and both the Special Observers within 48 hours.
“Till such time the reports are available to the Commission it will not be possible to draw any empirical conclusion let alone start linking it to the removal of earlier DGP,” the EC letter states.
When the elections have already been announced, it is not legally necessary or mandatory to consult the State Government because these are normally temporary measures for the period of elections, the letter adds.