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Election Commission downplays allegations of inaction by West Bengal special observer

Thursday, 8 May 2014 - 9:26pm IST | Agency: PTI

The Election Commission today sought to downplay allegations levelled by Left parties and Congress over the 'inaction' by its special observer in West Bengal saying there was "nothing objectionable" in his movement, including when he left the state.

Responding to a volley of questions on allegations on the 'inaction' by the special observer, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said here since the officer is on a different footing, he can always leave the state with the permission of the poll body. There had been allegations by opposition parties in West Bengal that the officer concerned -- Sudhir Rakesh-- was not present and available to them on certain polling days in West Bengal when he was approached with complaints of rigging and booth capturing.  "The special observer is also an observer. His role is more in the nature of a coordinating person, supervising a large area and he has a higher stature. He always can go out...he is on a different footing. He is not in charge of any particular constituency," Sampath said.

Asked whether EC will take action against Narendra Modi for 'daring' the poll panel to take action against rigging and booth capturing in West Bengal, Sampath said such general remarks about rigging are made in political speeches. But it is usually the candidate concerned who brings to notice specific instances to their (EC) notice by giving details of name and number of the booth concern.

He said if need arises, EC orders a repoll after assessing the actual position.

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