Alapan Bandyopadhyay takes charge as interim Bengal poll panel chief

Kolkata, Oct 7 (IANS) West Bengal transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Wednesday took charge as the interim state election commissioner after the exit of S.R. Upadhyay, and affirmed that he took over his new assignment sans “any pre-conceived notion”.

The opposition parties criticised Bandopadhyay’s appointment as “unconstitutional” arguing that a serving IAS officer was in no position to do justice to the high constitutional post as he was not in a position to go against the wishes of the government which was his superior authority.

There were also misgivings about him retaining the office of the transport secretary in addition to the interim charge.

Fielding questions on his appointment, Bandyopadhyay said: “I have come here on the orders of the state government following the vacancy created by the sudden resignation of S.R. Upadhyay.

“I will take charge in accordance with the order. I know nothing about my new role. I have not come with any pre-conceived notions.”

Upadhyay put in his papers allegedly succumbing under pressure from political parties following violence and irregularities in the October 3 local body polls.

On the issue of repoll and counting of votes, Bandyopadhyay said he will first speak with the officials and look into the reports of the district magistrates.

“I will have to go through the papers first and look into the reports of the district magistrates and returning officers. I have just arrived here and it is not possible for me to make any comments before holding discussions with the officials,” he said.

Bandyopadhyay was accompanying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her four-day trip to Bhutan when he asked to take over as SEC.

The state government forwarded Bandyopadhyay’s name to governor K.N. Tripathi, who approved of it and appointed the bureaucrat to the high post.

On Tuesday, Upadhyay went to Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation.

His decision came a day after he announced that the vote count for the three civic bodies — Municipal Corporations of Bidhannagar, Asansol and part of Howrah — that was on Sunday put on hold following mounting protests over allegations of violence and rampant malpractices, will be held on October 9.

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