Guwahati: In the latest development in the poll-bound state of Mizoram, the state government on Friday has been directed by the Election Commission to remove a principal secretary-level officer on charges of interfering with the poll process.
Following the Election Commission's direction, an umbrella organisation of major civil societies and student bodies of the state demanded the removal of Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank, claiming that he has lost the trust of the people. The NGO Coordination Committee also demanded that the CEO should leave the state by Monday evening.
Election to the 40-member Assembly will be held on November 28 and the EC issued the notification for it earlier in the day. The results will be out on December 11.
The Election Commission issued the order following media reports in a section of the media that state Chief Electoral Officer SB Shashank had complained to the EC regarding Mr. Chuaungo interference in the election process.
" The Election Commission (EC) is satisfied that the continuance of Mr. Lalnunmawia Chuaungo as Principal Secretary (Home), in State Government of Mizoram will have an adverse impact on the conduct of smooth, free and fair election process in Mizoram," the Election Commission order said.
The EC also directed that Mr. Chuaungo be relieved of his present responsibilities with immediate effect and his services placed at the disposal of Ministry of Home Affairs.
He would not be assigned any work relating to Mizoram or deputed to Mizoram till the process of elections is over, the EC's order No. 23/MIZ/2018 said.
Mr. Chuaungo has been working in Mizoram on inter-cadre deputation on loan from Gujarat since April this year.
The EC said the order was issued following "a series of incidents" that took place in Mizoram "causing concern to the commission regarding the successful completion of the summary revision of Electoral Rolls and also the successful conduct of a free and fair election in Mizoram."
The EC'S order has mentioned about six incidents mainly related to the arrangements to enable Bru refugees staying in camps in Tripura take part in the voting process. Thousands of Bru community people had fled Mizoram in the late 1990s following ethnic clashes.
In a statement issued by the NGO Coordination Committee, the committee has requested Shashank " to leave his post as CEO and also leave the state of Mizoram before dusk on November 5.
Accusing Mr. Shashank of working against the spirit of free, fair and peaceful polls, the committee urged the authorities to replace him with an official who had the confidence of the people.