Over 20 complaints lodged against govt officers for canvassing

Election 2019

[ Tongam Rina ]

PASIGHAT, Apr 7: The office of the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) has received more than 22 letters of complaints against government employees for their alleged involvement in canvassing for various candidates and political parties.
The letters have been forwarded to the chief secretary’s office for further disciplinary action, said an official of the CEO.
The official said all the complaints are about the employees’ alleged engagement in political campaigns.
One official has reportedly been transferred for campaigning. However, details are awaited.
Even though it is against service rules, government employees being a crucial part of campaigning in elections is not new in the state. This reporter spoke to three government officials from three districts, on the condition of anonymity.
A health department official said those who are not on administrative role are not assigned poll duties, but at the same time they are not allowed to take leave. But we spoke to one of the employees of the health department who is on an unofficial leave for the past one week because a contestant is a relative.
“I asked my boss to cover for me. The boss agreed, so I came over. I did not apply for leave because it would not have been granted,” the employee said.
Another one said government duty has been assigned to him, but at a nearby village.
“I have not taken leave but I campaigned every night,” the employee said.
How do these employees negotiate when a simple mobile recording can ruin their careers?
“The model code of conduct and the service conduct rules need to be respected, but I don’t have time to worry about it,” said another.
Most of the employees are not scared of being videographed.
“I have made sure that the payment for a particular work accomplished is not released,” said an engineer of a works department.
The engineer further said the casual employees will vote, but in favour of those already chosen by their boss.