Accuses the poll panel of political bias

Kunwar Fateh Bahadur appointed as new Principal Secretary to CM

He was removed as Secretary Home following complaints from parties

Lucknow/New Delhi: Adopting a confrontationist position with the Election Commission, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday brought back the State’s Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur to another important post, a day after he was removed by the poll body.

Mr. Bahadur’s new appointment as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister came within hours after the BSP supremo slammed the Election Commission for transferring him ahead of the polls accusing it of political bias and warned such “unjustified” action would lead to law and order problems or terror attacks.

“Bahadur has been appointed as new Principal Secretary to the CM”, Secretary Home Mahesh Kumar Gupta told reporters in Lucknow. He was removed from the crucial post by the Election Commission following complaints from the Opposition. -- PTI

Hits out at poll panel

Atiq Khan reports from Lucknow:

Ms. Mayawati slammed the Election Commission for transferring Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur.

She accused the Commission of being swayed by frivolous complaints lodged by the Opposition parties. She also assailed it for “failing” to verify the authenticity of the complaints.

‘Law and order problem’

At a press conference at her 5 Kalidas Marg official residence here, Ms. Mayawati said if senior State officials were arbitrarily removed without taking the State Government into confidence, maintenance of law and order would pose problems.

The State government was fully geared to ensure free and fair elections. What would happen if she and other candidates were subjected to a terror attack, or there was naxalite problem, she asked.

Ms. Mayawati said the official manning the post of Principal Secretary (Home) was working sincerely, implementing the Commission’s directives. Yet he was removed from the post. It was “unjustified.”

As the official was removed when the Lok Sabha polls were round the corner, the new incumbent would not get enough time to come to grips with the scenario.

“Convention bypassed”

Taking note of the transfer of some District Magistrates and police officers by the Commission, Ms. Mayawati said the convention of asking for a panel of officers from the State Government was bypassed by the Commission, which now preferred to appoint officers on its own.

Ms. Mayawati said she had written a letter to the Commission on the subject. She had directed the State officials to ensure free and fair polls and not to compromise on law and order.

The Chief Minister appealed to the people to exercise their franchise without any fear.