Kolkata: The Election Commission yesterday ordered transfer of eight West Bengal officials including five district police chiefs and one district magistrate, but a defiant Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to carry out the instruction and said she was even prepared to go to jail.
The commission’s order, which came a day after the full bench of the poll panel held wide consultations with state officials and political parties, was sent to the state Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra during the day.
The superintendents of police (SPs) — in charge of West Midnapore, Bardhman, Birbhum, Malda and North 24 Parganas districts — were involved in the reshuffle along with the district magistrate of North 24 Parganas.
Seven of the officials, including two additional district magistrates, removed from their post during the day, have been relieved from poll duty, while Birbhum SP Alok Rajoria has been shifted to the vacant post of SP of Jhargram police district.
The commission asked the state government to implement the orders by today. “As regards the posting of the existing officers who are to be shifted, the commission has said the state government may post them on non-election related and non-field posts on intimation to the Commission,” chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta said.
The poll panel order triggered an angry outburst from the chief minister, who challenged it.
“Put me in jail. I will not remove a single officer as chief minister. You rule and remove.”
She termed the commission’s decision as a conspiracy hatched by the central government, the poll panel, the Congress, the BJP and the Communist Party of India-Marxist. “Either you have to accept my resignation or I will obey you. I respect you, but not by bowing down,” Banerjee told an election meeting at Pandua of Hooghly district.
“I will fight it alone. .. Don’t blame Mamata Banerjee for any trouble. Either Mamata Banerjee will look after law and order, or the election commission. You control law and order. I have no objection. I can’t take responsibility. I have been elected by the people. I have not been elected at the mercy of the Congress, or you. I challenge the Election Commission, which I have never done in my life,” she said.