‘Have Full Faith in WB Incharge’: EC on TMC’s Bias Allegation

TMC leader Derek O’Brian accused Jain of being “favourable to and/or tilted towards the BJP”.

Updated
India
2 min read
TMC leader Derek O’Brian accused Jain of being “favourable to and/or tilted towards the BJP”. Image used for representation. 
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After the Trinamool Congress’ allegation of Thursday, 4 March, that the Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain as incharge of the State Election Commission is biased towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Election Commission on Friday said that it has “full faith in the integrity and fairness” of the senior official.

According to a report by The Times of India, the EC in its statement said all its deputy election commissioners and other officials posted in the commission's headquarters or working in the field are "discharging their duties strictly as per the Constitution of India and the various extant rules regarding the conduct of elections".

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday, 4 March appealed to the Chief Electoral Office of West Bengal for the withdrawal of Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain as in-charge of the State Election Commission. Senior TMC leader Derek O’Brien penned a letter to the office, accusing Jain’s actions of being “ favourable to and/or tilted towards the BJP”.

The Rajya Sabha MP wrote, “We have serious doubts that Shri Sudeep Jain would be impartial and his approach towards all parties would not be equal,” adding that the TMC has, “no confidence in Sri Sudeep Jain.”

O’Brien cited two instances corroborating his allegations in the two-page letter, one of them being the deployment of state police under members of the Central Armed Police Force, amid the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

He wrote, “The scheme of the Constitution of India mandates that a state shall have the right to deal with ‘public order’ and ‘police,’ under Entries 1 and 2, respectively, of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Any deviation from the same would tantamount to an attack against the ideals of federalism, which has been recognised as an essential feature and a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.”

He also highlighted Jain’s decision to halt election campaigning before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, after a mob of BJP supporters vandalised the statue of social reformer and educationist Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, at Kolkata’s Vidyasagar College during Amit Shah’s road show.

Calling the actions “partisan” and “biased”, O’ Brien stated, “no explanation was sought, no show-cause was issued, no action was taken by the ECI against the perpetrators, which is Amit Shah or his entourage.”

The TMC’s demand also comes after the party approached the Election Commission for the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo being used on the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates given to beneficiaries. Following the announcement of election dates, O’Brien had questioned if this was in violation of the model code of conduct.

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