Axe may fall on some Uttar Pradesh officialsMarch 5th, 2009 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, March 5 (IANS) The two-day stock-taking visit by the Election Commission of India here may eventually prove dear to certain Uttar Pradesh officials, about whose fair conduct some opposition parties have raised doubts.
Even as Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami Thursday refused to divulge the names of the officials who have been termed as “agents” of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), he did not rule out the possibility of “some action to follow”.
At the day-long marathon meeting with district magistrates, district police chiefs and other poll related senior officials, Gopalaswami said: “We will not tolerate any compromise with a free and fair poll.”
India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, with 80 parliamentary constituencies, will be the only state other than Jammu and Kashmir to go to polls in five-phases, during which some 116.2 million voters will exercise their franchise at 128,112 polling stations sprawling across its length and breadth.
Asked how soon would the Election Commission act on the complaint of the opposition parties, who have sought removal of some top bureaucrats and police officials of the state, Gopalaswami told reporters: “We will make our own inquiries and then draw our conclusions, but whatever the action, it will follow very soon.”
While the complaints made by Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were general in nature and sought to draw the attention of the poll panel towards “violation of the election code of conduct by the state government” and accused the state machinery of turning into a “tool” of the ruling dispensation, the Samajwadi Party pointedly demanded removal of some bigwigs whom it accused of working as BSP activists.
The Samajwadi Party Wednesday urged the Election Commission to remove six top officials, including Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta, Director General of Police Vikram Singh and Brij Lal, additional director general of police (law and order).
The other names are: additional cabinet secretary Vijai Shankar Pande, principal home secretary Fateh Bahadur and secretary to chief minister Net Ram.
While stressing upon the need for ensuring posting of micro-observers to be drawn from various central government organisations in the states, the chief election commissioner has also urged officials to keep constant tracking of the violation of model election code of conduct.
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