a West Bengal – IAS officer, Rajiva Sinha He has been at the center of action in the state since the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee came to power. The trend continues after his retirement.

A day after becoming state election commissioner, Sinha announced the timetable for the long-awaited panchayat elections in West Bengal. He certainly entered directly into the controversy, given the stakes involved in all-party polls, which are seen as a litmus test before the Lok Sabha elections, and especially given the widespread violence in the 2018 panchayat polls that left the opposition calling for it. He should have at least been consulted before Sinha went ahead and took the initiative.

Since Sinha announced the polling schedule, the State Elections Commission has been asked by the Supreme Court to consider extending the deadline for submitting nominations, in opposition appeal. It is also studying their demands for the deployment of central forces. Meanwhile, the nomination process descended into a series of violent incidents.

This is the scenario that seems to be running along the lines of 2018, when the court had to intervene several times in the polling process in the panchayats, which remains tainted because 34% of the seats were won uncontested by the TMC, allegedly because opposition candidates were not. able to submit their candidacy.

Sinha was also summoned by West Bengal Governor C. V. Ananda Bose to express his concerns.

Sinha, a native of Patna and son of a college professor, chose West Bengal as his cadre after being selected for IAS. He started his career as a sub-division officer in Katwa in Purba Bardhaman, and served as Additional District Magistrate in Bardhaman and District Magistrate of Cooch Behar, before becoming Managing Director of West Bengal SC and ST & OBC Development and Finance Corporation during the left front years.

He was immediately transferred to UNICEF after that and was posted to Patna where his work in the fight against polio in the state as part of the United Nations organization was much appreciated.

Months after Mamata Banerjee became Chief Minister of West Bengal for the first time, Sinha returned to the state. In 2012, he was appointed Secretary of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Department.

Sinha would move through the departments of Industry and Health, before eventually being promoted to Chief Secretary during the Covid pandemic. After his retirement, he was granted an extension and asked to head the West Bengal Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBIIDC).

Sinha’s name was suggested as his successor by the former state election commissioner, ex-IAS officer Sourav Das. Governor Bose cleared Sinha’s name after some resistance.

As a technically independent body, the SEC finalizes polling schedules in consultation with the state government. Its power comes into effect only after the election has been announced, when it obtains the power to deploy force and even to transfer officers.

When he took office on 7 June, Sinha told the media that he hoped to carry out his duties well, adding, “It’s a legal job… It’s all in the book. The commissioner just has to follow it.”

But just a day later, the panchayat elections were announced.

Surprised by how quickly the announcement was made, the opposition questioned the failure to keep her in the loop and specifically raised concerns about Sinha’s closeness to Mamata Banerjee.

Echoing this, an IAS officer said, “Sinha is close to Mamata Banerjee’s family, which gives him an added advantage.”

However, another senior IAS official said that Sinha had built a reputation for making “bold” decisions and standing by it in his career. “In the administration of Mamata Banerjee, it is difficult to hold the top positions throughout his career. Rajiva Sinha is one of the small group of officers who managed that.”

“The governor should have reviewed Sinha’s name before approving him as the state election commissioner,” said BJP leader Sovindu Adhikari, who is among the petitioners in the Supreme Court calling for the central forces and an extension of the deadline for submitting nominations to the panchayat polls. “.

Sujan Chakraborty, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, said, “Sinha is Mamata’s man. He was chosen so that the ruling party would have an advantage in the elections.”

TMC leader Shantanu Sen said the BJP was disappointed because they wanted the ruler to implement what they wanted. If he does not, they say he is not a good ruler. Sinha qualifies as the State Elections Commissioner. He has extensive experience and was the first secretary of the state.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *