22 Apr 2019
#Elections2019: Bengal like Bihar 10-15 years ago, says IAS officer
His comments invited ire from Trinamool, which wrote to EC demanding his removal. The party led by Mamata Banerjee claimed Nayak has links with BJP and RSS.
Notably, two phases of elections have been completed.
What he said
Earlier, Bihar got central forces, now Bengal needs them: Nayak
Nayak, who is the former Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, said people in Bengal have lost faith in the state police.
"This situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 10 to 15 years ago. During that time in Bihar total deployment of central forces at the booths was required. Now it is required in West Bengal," he said.
Nayak said Bihar changed, asked what's stopping Bengal
Nayak made the remarks in the presence of state Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab.
He went on to say, "People in Bihar wanted change and now, the state needs only 20 percent deployment of Central forces...Then why is this not happening in Bengal?"
However, he noted that not everything is grim. He hoped by next general elections, the demand of forces would decrease.
Soon, Trinamool shot off letter to EC seeking Nayak's removal
Nayak's observations rattled Trinamool and the party soon sent a letter to EC. In the letter, Trinamool said it had reasons to believe that Nayak was acting in a 'partisan' manner.
He is acting with "pre-conceived notions, to destabilize the conduct of the elections in the state in a free and fair manner by creating a fear psychosis among the electorate," claimed the party.
Comments came on day when Malda police chief was removed
Notably, Nayak's statement came on the day when EC removed Malda police chief Arnab Ghosh from election duty.
He was the sixth police officer to have been relieved off polling tasks.
"Malda North and Malda South will go to the polls on April 23. It appears the police observer was not happy with the arrangements made by the SP," a source told Telegraph.
Meanwhile, an election officer went missing in Bengal
Separately, election officer Arnab Ray who was in-charge of EVMs in Ranaghat parliamentary constituency went missing on Thursday. The Lok Sabha seat will cast votes on April 29.
While his mysterious disappearance raises pertinent questions, Nayak said, "As of now the officer's disappearance is not related to elections. We have appointed someone else in his place."
Police have launched an investigation.
Nayak hoped things would change for better in future
"I am sure by the next parliamentary elections, the state will not require the deployment of Central paramilitary forces in such large numbers. Bengal's elections are going to be absolutely peaceful and fair especially now that we have Central forces in more than 92 percent of the polling stations," he added.