KOLKATA: West Bengal on Tuesday plunged into a constitutional crisis with the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Sushantaranjan Upadhyay resigning amidst allegations by opposition parties that he was being partial, and also following pressure from the ruling Trinamool Congress to not defer counting of votes for the recently-held civic polls. Senior IAS officer Alapan Bandopadhaya has been appointed interim the SEC.
“He came to meet me and submitted his resignation. He pressed for it. I have forwarded his resignation to the state government and it has to act upon it,” Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi said.
Asked if he had asked Upadhyay to reconsider his decision, Tripathi replied in the negative. This is for the first time that an SEC resigned has resigned in the State.
Following rampant violence during polls for three municipal corporations, Bidhannagar, Asansol and Bali, all opposition parties had demanded a total repoll describing it as a “farce.” They had also staged sit-in demonstrations at the state election office.
Upadhyay postponed the date of counting scheduled for Wednesday after which a TMC delegation led by two high profile state ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Partha Chatterjee. They met himand for a four-hour-long meeting and tried to pressure him into withdrawing his announcement, but he did not relent.