Amid Rising Cases of Violence in Nandigram, EC Removes Haldia SDPO 48 Hours Before Polling

Kolkata: The Election Commission (EC) removed the Haldia SDPO, who was in-charge of Nandigram, just 48 hours before the vote. The EC order came following the rising incidents of violence in the high-profile Nandigram Assembly seat from where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting in the West Bengal elections this time.

The attack on CPM candidate Meenakshi Mukherjee’s campaign at the Bhutani intersection in Nandigram during the last day of campaign on Tuesday, and the attack on BJP candidate Ashok Dinda in Maina raised an alarm for the district administration. The authorities reviewed the situation at a meeting and declared all booths in Nandigram as sensitive.

The order, issued on March 30, stated that the Haldia SDPO, Barun Baidya shall not be posted in any elected related posts till the completion of the poll process. Uttam Mitra, an officer of West Bengal Police Services, will replace Baidya.

According to Election Commission sources, Haldia SDPO Varun Vaidya was accused of partiality in conducting the polls. The Commission was also not happy about the violence in different parts of the Nandigram constituency. The poll panel has decided to deploy eight central paramilitary personnel in each booth of Nandigram.

In another order, Mahishadal Circle Inspector was removed just before the polls. Shirshendu Das will take over as the new CI replacing Bichitrabikash Roy. Along with it, Election Commission also ordered to remove Ballygunje returning officer Arindam Mani from his post.

Nandigram has a history of electoral violence. The constituency has taken centre stage this time as Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee is fighting from this seat against his former cabinet colleague Shuvendu Adhikari, who has become one of the mascots of BJP in West Bengal. Nandigram, following the VIP candidates, has been witnessing an intense war of words and incidents of violence.

The high-profile seat of Nandigram seat goes to polls in the second phase on April 1. In the second phase voting for 30 Assembly seats will be held across four districts.

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