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Key U.P. officials biased, EC told

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Opposition accuses them of working as BSP agents

Some heads are likely to roll before phase I of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections following a fresh demand made by the Opposition to the Election Commission for removal of officials holding key positions in the Mayawati government. Some of these officers identified by the Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress were posted in the Chief Minister's Office.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and V.S. Sampath began a busy two-day visit to the State capital on Friday for reviewing the poll arrangements. Elections in the State will be held in seven phases from February 4 to 28.

The removal of certain officers, accused of working as agents of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, figured prominently at the EC's meeting with representatives of the parties at the Raj Bhavan. The EC met separate delegations of the parties. In fact, the SP and the BJP were unanimous in seeking the removal of the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary (Home) and the Director-General of Police.

The SP delegation, led by Ambika Chaudhary, demanded that these three officers be removed before the election process got under way. Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said a similar demand was made during the EC's visit to Lucknow in November last. On Friday, the SP made another demand — the elections should be held under the command of Central forces.

BJP memorandum

Reiterating a similar demand, the BJP, in an 18-point memorandum, sought removal of the Ministers who were in the Lokayukta net, and also of the Mathura district magistrate, who, it said, had been removed during the panchayat polls on court orders but was back in the same post.

The Congress took exception to the district magistrates of Sitapur and Lakhimpur Kheri issuing notices to party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, asking him to furnish accounts of expenditure incurred at his public meetings in the districts. In its memorandum, the Congress delegation, led by Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari, alleged that some district magistrates and district election officers were acting biased, in favour of the ruling party. The delegation said accounts were not required to be furnished until after the EC notified the dates for nominations, followed by a public notice under Sections 30 and 31 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and until a person filed nomination and was declared a valid candidate.

Alleging that many officers in the State were working as BSP cadres, a CPI team, led by State secretary Girish, urged the EC that these officers be either removed or attached to the State headquarters. Several officers had stayed put in a post for many years.

In the post-lunch session, the EC held a meeting with the Commissioners, district magistrates and police chiefs of the districts, where polling will be held in the first four phases. On Saturday, the EC will meet officials of the district, where elections will be held in the remaining three phases. It will also hold a meeting with the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary (Home) and the DGP.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:03:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/key-up-officials-biased-ec-told/article2781329.ece

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