The Election Commission (EC) late on Saturday directed state government to remove director general (DGP) of police Brij Lal and principal secretary home department Fateh Bahadur Singh from their respective posts. Lal and Bahadur have been replaced by Atul Kumar and Manjit Singh. The decision came after opposition parties demanded that the two officers should be removed if EC wants free and fair state assembly elections to be held in February.
The Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) in retaliation has cried foul describing removal of the two officers hailing from the schedule castes as an insult to the dalit community. The BSP also came down heavily on the EC for its order to drape chief minister Mayawati’s statue and those of elephants in various dalit memorials in view of elections. The EC directed to cover the statutes so that they cannot become a medium to influence votes because the election symbol of the BSP is elephant.
Significantly, the announcement of EC’s order to remove officers was made by BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra and not any official of the Commission. In fact, when contacted, Chief Electoral Officer, UP, Umesh Sinha, said that he has not received any official communique from the EC or the government about the removal of the officers. Even Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Qureshi made no mention of transfers in his press conference in the evening.
Qureshi, who was in two day visit to Lucknow to review status of preparedness for election, only said that he has received complaints from the Opposition parties demanding removal of number of officers which they claimed were bias. He also said that he has directed officials to work in a free and fair manner. But three hours after CEC’s press conference, in a hurriedly called press meet, Satish Chandra Mishra informed that the EC has decided to transfer the two officials.