Special EC team of observers to arrive on January 16

Kolkata, Jan 14 (PTI) A six-member special ElectionCommission team, led by the Chief Electoral Officer of BiharSudhir Kumar Rakesh, would arrive here on the night of January16 to make an independent assessment of law and order inpoll-bound West Bengal, CEO Sunil Gupta said here today.

The decision to send a fact-finding team was taken by theEC after representatives of various political parties hadhighlighted the worsening law and order situation in the statein the wake of unabated political violence.

Apart from the Bihar CEO, the team comprised five seniorpolice officers Zaki Ahmed (DIG National Crime Record Bureau),P R K Naidu (DIG National Crime Record Bureau), D K Pandey(ADG Jharkhand), V S Reddy (DIG Andhra Pradesh) and P SRampassi (DIG Orissa), Gupta said.

"The team is the eyes and ears of the ECI. It will onlysee and hear from different sources and will not speak out. Itwill only submit its report to the ECI. It may even talk tosome political parties. It will finalise its next move onlyafter making a first-hand assessment of the situation," Guptasaid.

The EC had yesterday said in Delhi that the team wouldvisit different districts of the state immediately and make anon-the-spot assessment and submit a report to the Commission.

"Maintenance of law and order is crucial to the conductof free and fair and peaceful election," the EC had said.

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