Governor CV Ananda Bose’s apparent silence on the approval to Rajiva Sinha, retired bureaucrat and former chief secretary, as the new commissioner of the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) has triggered controversy, raising questions whether the former could disapprove a proposal made by the state government of making someone retired or serving bureaucrat at state poll panel chief.
Hardly, one week ago, the state government had sent a proposal to Raj Bhaban recommending Mr Sinha as the WBSEC chief after the present commissioner Mr Sourav Das’s term ends on 28 May.
But Mr Bose is yet to give his clearance on the proposal and has sought clarifications from the state secretariat, Nabanna. He wants to know why Rajiva Sinha’s name has been recommended. Political analysts and a section of bureaucrats felt that the Governor’s apparent silence on the issue for about one week is significant, particularly ahead of rural polls, likely in June-July.
They felt that there might be a crisis if the Governor does not approve Mr Sinha as the new state election commissioner by 28 May when Mr Das will quit. Mr Das, whose tenure as the state election commissioner ended on 31 March, was given two months’ extension till 28 May.
“What would be the government future plan of action for appointment of new poll panel chief if Mr Sinha’s name is turned down by the Raj Bhaban,” a senior bureaucrat asked. “It’s not always mandatory that a new commissioner must be appointed by the day when the present SEC chief’s tenure ends.
The government can appoint a senior serving bureaucrat as commissioner for an interim period till someone is given charge,” the former WBSEC said. “I doubt whether the Governor can reject the recommendation made by the state government,” a retired bureaucrat said.