Lok Sabha Elections: EC Shakes Up District Admin in 5 States, Assam CM’s Brother Also Transferred

Lok Sabha Elections: EC Shakes Up District Admin in 5 States, Assam CM’s Brother Also Transferred

As per the poll body, the action is a demonstration of its dedication to preserve the integrity of the electoral process, a sentiment repeatedly emphasised by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. (PTI/File)

Among the changes, the Election of Commission of India has directed the transfer of SSP Bathinda in Punjab and SP Sonitpur in Assam for familial association with elected political representatives in these states

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India has transferred eight non-cadre SPs/SSPs and five non-cadre District Magistrates (DMs) in four states – Gujarat, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal. In addition, the commission has also directed the transfer of SSP Bathinda in Punjab and SP Sonitpur in Assam for familial association with elected political representatives in these states.

As per the poll body, the action is a demonstration of the commission’s dedication and promise to uphold fairness and preserve the integrity of the electoral process, a sentiment repeatedly emphasised by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.

The officials who were transferred include SP of Chhota Udaipur and Ahmedabad Rural districts in Gujarat; SSP of Pathankot, Fazilka, Jalandhar Rural and Malerkotla districts in Punjab; DM of Dhenkanal and SPs of Deogarh and Cuttack Rural districts in Odisha; and DMs of Purba Medinipur, Jhargram, Purba Bardhaman and Birbhum districts in West Bengal.

Further, SSP Bathinda in Punjab Harmanbir Singh Gill has been transferred as his brother Jasbir Singh Gill (alias Dimpa) is an MP.

SP Sonitpur Sushanta Biswa Sarma, brother of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, has also been transferred from the post. Sushanta was transferred before the 2021 Assembly elections as well for the same reason.

In a statement, the poll body said these two officials were transferred as pre-emptive measures to dispel any apprehensions of the administration being biased or perceived to be compromised.

“Taking forward its commitment for a level playing field in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the Election Commission of India (ECI) today has issued transfer orders for non-cadre officers who are posted at leadership positions as District Magistrate (DM) and Superintendent of Police (SP) in four states namely Gujarat, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal. Post of DM and SP in the district are encadred for officers from Indian Administrative and Indian Police Service respectively,” the EC said.

Earlier this week, the EC had ordered the removal of top officials of several states, including the West Bengal director general of police and home secretaries of six states.

The home secretaries in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, were removed from the post. Secretaries of the general administrative departments in Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh were also removed.

Last month, the poll body directed all state governments to ensure that officers who are transferred out of the district after completing three years are not posted in another district within the same parliamentary constituency.

Lok Sabha elections 2024 will be held in seven phases between April 19 and June 1, and the counting of votes will take place on June 4.

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