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EC Removes Gujarat, Five Other State Home Secretaries, Bengal DGP

| Updated: March 18, 2024 16:28

In a decisive move, the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued orders for the removal of six home secretaries in six states namely Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Additionally, the poll panel directed the transfer of West Bengal’s Director General of Police, the state’s chief cop.

The re-shuffle, a common practice by the ECI before major polls, also involves the transfer of the secretary of the General Administrative Department in Mizoram K Lalthawmmawia and Himachal Pradesh Rakesh Kanwar.

Gujarat home secretary Pankaj Joshi, Uttar Pradesh home secretary Sanjay Prasad, Bihar home secretary Aamir Subhani, Jharkhand counterpart Amitabh Kaushal, Himachal’s Abhishek Jain and Uttarakhand home secretary Shailesh Bagauli has been reshuffled, apart from Bengal DGP Rajeev Kumar.

The ECI, led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, also ordered the removal of Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, along with additional commissioners and deputy commissioners, just days after announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections.

The apex poll body has instructed all state governments to transfer officers involved in election-related tasks who have completed three years or are stationed in their home districts.

Notably, Maharashtra had failed to comply with the its directions regarding the removal of several municipal commissioners, as well as additional and deputy municipal commissioners.

While conveying displeasure to the state chief secretary, the commission directed the transfer of BMC and the additional and deputy commissioners with the direction to report by 6 pm on Monday.

Furthermore, the chief secretary was mandated to transfer all similarly positioned municipal commissioners, as well as additional or deputy municipal commissioners, across other corporations in Maharashtra.

These actions form part of the commission’s endeavors to uphold a level-playing field and safeguard the integrity of the electoral process, a priority reiterated by Chief Election Commissioner Kumar on numerous occasions.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases beginning from April 19 and results will be announced on June 4, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Saturday (March 16).

The other phases will be on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will be held on April 19, and in Andhra Pradesh on May 13. Elections to Odisha assembly will be held in four phases on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. Bypolls will also be held for 26 assembly constituencies, Kumar said at a press conference flanked by two new Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.

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