Kolkata: Special Election Observer Ajay V Nayak while hinting re-polling in the second phase compared West Bengal with Bihar from what it used to be in 10-15 years ago in terms of law and order situation during polling.
“People in Bengal have lost faith in the state police and therefore they are demanding for central forces for free and fair poll. Similar, situation was there in Bihar 10-15 years ago,” he said.
While praising the election management in Bengal, he said, “Overall polling was peaceful except few stray incidents. Things are improving in terms of election management. Bengal is progressing in a positive fashion. Considering the progress, I think in the next parliamentary election, it will not require heavy deployment of central forces (in Bengal).”
On April 17, Nayak - a 1984-batch IAS officer - was appointed as special observer by the Election Commission to oversee the last five phases of polls in West Bengal.
According to Nayak, in total 324 companies of central forces would be deployed to cover more than 92 per cent of the polling booths in Balurghat, Jangipur, Murshidabad, Malda North and Malda South parliamentary constituencies which will go to the polls on April 23.
The Special Observer remarked that there are chances of re-polling in some booths from the second phase.
“On the basis of scrutiny, we have not found any negligence in the first phase. But there are chances of re-polling in some of the booths that went to polls in the second phase. There won’t be any baton-wielding policemen within 100 metres of voting zones," he said.
Condemning Nayaks’s remark on comparing Bengal with Bihar - TMC secretary general Subrata Bakshi wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora demanding his immediate removal.
“The special observer comments are highly misplaced. He is acting in a partisan manner with pre-conceived notions to destabilize elections in the state and to create a fear psychosis among voters,” Bakshi’s letter reads.