Is the newly-appointed CoP just for the polls?
Will J.K. Tripathy, the new police commissioner, remain in office for a period of two years, as mandated by the Supreme Court? This is the question doing the rounds in the Chennai Police. A week ago, Mr. Tripathy replaced S. George, posted now as ADGP (prisons).
The Supreme Court had ruled in the Prakash Singh case that any police officer posted as DGP, commissioner/superintendent, station house officer, etc., should serve for a minimum of two years, irrespective of the date of superannuation.
Though many believe the transfers made by the Election Commission will hold good only till the elections are over, a few others argue the appointments to posts such as the DGP or police commissioner must be in compliance with the Supreme Court guidelines.
While the order posting Anoop Jaiswal as DGP (elections) clearly said officials handling election work should report to him till the completion of the poll process, there was no such reference made in the appointment of the new police commissioner. It is pertinent to note here that Mr. George was in office for less than two years.
Panic attack sets in
To be first off the block, the ruling AIADMK began campaigning, in style, well in advance. With only their charismatic leader as star campaigner, the ruling party was talking of a sweep in the Lok Sabha elections. And believed so.
The dictate was a clear 40-0 in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. As the days pass, the second rung of leaders are beginning to have panic attacks as surveys predict a gradual slide in the number of seats the party, contesting on its own, will win in the elections.
With poll day nearing, they are seeking the opinion of mediapersons to know if the surveys should be taken seriously.
Shooting from the hip
Chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar is quite an enthusiastic man. And he can be brusque — in all possible definitions of the adjective. Of late, reporters have been finding it difficult to follow his speech in the right context.
After he blamed the media for misquoting him on the issue of door-to-door campaigning at nights, reporters attending his press conference have begun using recorders, unwilling to take any chance. In his last press meet, he said women voters outnumbered men for the first time, this election. When some reporters looked up past records, they found it was not so. When a reporter called him for clarification, Mr. Kumar said: “How do I know? I thought this was the first time.”
The police presence in Mayiladuthurai during DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi’s campaign visit there was shockingly poor, for a politician enjoying ‘Z special category’ security.
Even more shocking was the fact that local office bearers dubbed it understaffing by design. The DMK leader’s public meeting here, reportedly after a span of two decades, was marked by an unruly, overzealous crowd. Constant appeals by DMK office-bearers to improve Mr. Karunanidhi’s security cover went unheard.
After the mob broke through the physical barricades, causing a virtual stampede in the media gallery, DMK cadre relied on their trade union wing to act as human barricades,
The police administration seemed either clueless about the security requirements, or clearly unprepared for such a turnout.
The DMK leader’s security cover mandates hourly upgrade of the police force, from the time of arrival, until departure.