The Election Commission had directed that security be provided to the returning officer for Nandigram.
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Tuesday said all inputs and reports available with it regarding counting in Nandigram assembly constituency confirmed that the returning officer had followed all counting protocols and his rejection of the Trinamool agent’s demand for a recount was in line with the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
Noting that election-related officers on the ground performed in a highly competitive political environment with diligence, full transparency and fairness, the EC said “attribution of any motive in such cases is not desirable”. The commission’s reaction came in the wake of TMC questioning the counting process in Nandigram and Mamata Banerjee, who lost to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, alleging that the returning officer had not ordered a recount as “he feared for his life”.
The West Bengal government on Monday informed the EC that it has, on the latter’s directions, provided security to the Nandigram returning officer both in person, with two personal security officers assigned for the job, and at his home. The EC on Tuesday also directed that he be provided medical support and counselling.
The EC wrote to the West Bengal chief secretary directing that officers performing election duty be given due protection as “any pressure or harm or even perception or furtherance of any such narrative shall have serious implications on the entire machinery deployed during elections”.
As per Rule 63 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, a returning officer upon receiving a recount request can allow it in whole or in part or may reject if it appears to him frivolous or unreasonable.