Aizawl: Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking the immediate removal of state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank to resolve the prevailing socio-political and administrative crisis in the state following the removal of principal secretary (Home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, a Mizo IAS officer of Gujarat cadre by Election Commission due to allegations levelled against him by Shashank.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Lal Thanhawla said the inept handling of election process this time by SB Shashank and his complete failure to take his own colleagues into confidence and his style of functioning has led to this impasse.
He said that the action of the CEO has triggered the ire of the civil society including the Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), a poll watchdog formed by major churches and leading NGOs insisting on his removal.
Lal Thanhawla also said that the CEO’s action is seen by the people of Mizoram as an attempt to belittle whatever commendable acts the civil society had done and stood for.
He added that Mizoram has always conducted elections in a fair and peaceful manner due to the role played by the MPF and other civil society organisations.
“With the complete loss of confidence in him by the people, the only solution for smooth conduct of assembly polls now would be removal of the CEO from his office forthwith,” Lal Thanhawla wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister and requested that the CEO’s charge be handed over to Additional CEO even fresh arrangement cannot be made at this juncture.
The Chief Minister also wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his intervention to restore the status quo.
Although Mizoram has the unique distinction of conducting exemplary elections over the years, which is largely due to the role played by civil society organizations, the poll panel has been prompted to take drastic action in removing the state principal secretary due to the inept handling by an inexperienced and incompetent CEO this time around, he said.
“The civil society does not take this lightly and the government also fully support their long-standing demand that the Bru in Tripura should come and cast their votes inside Mizoram,” the CM wrote in his letter to the Home Minister.
He alleged that some vested interest in Tripura camps are only dissuading the people from coming back to Mizoram to press their unwarranted demand for Autonomous District Council.
“The latest move by the EC will further belittle the integration process of the government of India and also alienate the Mizo sentiments,” he wrote.
State BJP president Prof JV Hluna also wrote to the Prime Minister imploring him to stabilize the situation so that the election process be allowed to move forward peacefully.