Election Commission shunts 8 Kolkata returning officers ahead of April 26, 29 polls | India News – Times of India

KOLKATA: The Election Commission on Tuesday replaced the returning officers (RO) of eight assembly seats in Kolkata that go to the polls on April 26 and 29.
An EC official said the change was necessary as the eight officers — ROs of Chowinghee, Entally, Beliaghata, Jorasanko, Shyampukur, Kashipur-Belgachia, Kolkata Port and Bhowanipore — had been holding the post for more than four years.
EC sources said the norm of removing officers who had held the same post for over four years had been stringently followed in the districts, but not in the case of these officers posted in Kolkata. Of these assembly segments, Kolkata Port and Ballygunge will vote on April 26, and the others on April 29 — phase seven and eight of the eight-phase Bengal polls.

The nomination process for these phases is currently underway. During phase seven, a total of 36 assembly constituencies go to the polls, whereas 35 do so in the last phase.
An official said the ROs — who play a key role in the election process — have been shifted in order to maintain the sanctity of the polling process, so that no question of bias could be raised later.
ROs are tasked with conducting polls in a free and fair manner. They also hand over winners’ certificates to candidates and manage everything on behalf of the EC. They need to ensure that the staff and on-duty police are properly posted through a process of randomisation so that no one feels threatened and electoral malpractices and complaints are properly handled, the official added.
In end-March, the EC had removed the RO of Ballygunge, Arindam Mani, as he had been in the same post of additional director of directorate of land revenue for over three years. He has been posted as an officer on special duty of the PAR department. A new set of eight WBCS (executive) officers will take charge immediately.

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