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Featured Image: A file photo of Alapan Bandyopadhyay during a visit to Bangladesh earlier this year. 

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 06 October: WEST Bengal government has decided to appoint state transport department principal secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay as the acting state election commissioner following the resignation of Sushanta Ranjan Upadhyay on Tuesday evening.

Bandyopadhyay, a 1987 batch IAS officer, will shoulder the responsibility until a new full-time poll commissioner is appointed by the Governor at the recommendation of the state Cabinet.

The state government has decided to appoint Bandyopadhyay the acting poll commissioner in exercise of the power vested in Section 3 (2) (b) of the West Bengal State Election Commission Act 1994. The section reads:

“If a vacancy occurs in the Office of the State Election Commissioner by reason of death, resignation or expiry of the term of his office, removal or otherwise, then the Governor shall, by notification, designate and officer of the State Government who shall act as the State Election Commissioner during the period of such temporary inability or pending the appointment of a State Election Commissioner, as the case may be.”

Sources at Bengal state secretariat Nabanna said that the Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has signed the notification appointing Bandyopadhyay as the acting poll commissioner on Tuesday night itself.

Bandyopadhyay, who is in Bhutan as part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s entourage, will be flying down at Kolkata airport by a Druk Air flight at 8 am on Wednesday and then assume the additional charge of the poll commissioner.

On taking over the charge, the immediate task before him will be to supervise Wednesday’s vote counting for Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad polls and the by-polls in 415 seats in the three-tier panchayat system conducted on 03 October.

Bandyopadhyay shall also have to take a call on whether to order a re-poll in any booth at Bidhannagar, Bally and Asansol as the outgoing poll commissioner Sushanta Ranjan Upadhyay did not issue a formal order in this regard despite making an announcement before the Press on Monday evening.

The 09 October civic polls counting date, that Upadhyay had announced under pressure from the Trinamool Congress, shall also have be notified by the acting poll commissioner if he wants the counting to be held on that day.