Mamata defies EC, asks to review transfer orders

Mamata Banerjee has refused to abide by the Election Commission's order to transfer eight West Bengal government officials, including five district police chiefs and a district magistrate.

The state government has expressed its inability to carry out the orders of the EC even as the deadline for the transfer of officials ended at 2:30 pm today.

The state chief secretary is reported to have written a letter to the EC stating that the Bengal government is "unable to effect the transfers."

Mamata Banerjee had on Monday said, "I challenge the Election Commission to remove anybody while I am in charge."

Banerjee accused the EC of attempting to transfer officials and name new ones without consulting her government.

"You will only listen to the Congress...to make the Congress win, BJP win. You will have to take my resignation. I will not remove a single officer, not while I am chief minister. Do what you like," she said.

The Election Commission, on the other hand, wants the eight officials transferred to ensure free and fair elections in West Bengal.

Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra said the letter was written as per the ''chief minister's direction'' and that the state government has appealed to the EC to reconsider its decision on the transfer orders.

The Election Commission is expected to consults the state government and seek three names for each replacement. However, in yesterday's order, EC went ahead with the transfer order without any consultations.

Besides pointing this out, the letter also includes a list of IAS / IPS officers from which the EC could choose as replacements.

"For example for Malda, SP is replaced by an officer who is a 2009-batch IPS but the DSP there is from the 2008-IPS batch. How can the state government let this happen? The EC has the right to transfer, but had they consulted us, these issue could have been avoided," a government official said.

In another letter to the EC today, the state government, however, indicated that it was ready to accept the transfers, but not the replacements.

It is now for the EC to make a decision. It may postpone the poll or approach the President or the Supreme Court.