Kerala Assembly polls: EC considers removing Loknath Behera from law and order responsibility
New Delhi: The Central Election Commission is examining the possibility of handing over the responsibility of law and order in Kerala for the upcoming Assembly polls to another senior officer instead of DGP Loknath Behera.
Sources from the Election Commission stated that they will hold discussions with the state government in this regard and that the final decision will be taken by the end of January.
As per precedence, officers who have been in charge of law and order for more than 3 years will be shifted from law and order responsibility ahead of election procedures. The State Electoral Officers will take necessary steps in this regard after discussing with the state government.
DGP Loknath Behera has already completed 3 years in charge of law and order in the state. It is in this context that the Central Election Commission is mulling whether to hand over the change to another senior officer.
Sources from the Election Commission stated that it is the state government that has to decide on whether to hand over the responsibility to another officer of DGP or ADGP rank. Although such precedence is still applicable, a change is not made unless there is a complaint against the officer in charge.
Behera will retire in June. Certain officials fear that if the responsibility is handed over to another officer, Loknath Behera will not be able to retire as the chief of law and order. It is also reported that Behera will be posted as the head of an internationally acclaimed institution that is run under Public-Private Partnership.
The Chief Secretary of Kerala will also take office before the Assembly election in the state. Dr. Viswas Mehta will retire from service by February. Anand Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Inderjeet Singh and VP Joy are next in line on the basis of seniority. They are all posted on central deputation. Out of this, the first three officers are unlikely to return to Kerala to take up the Chief Secretary post.
It is not clear whether VP Joy will return to Kerala to take up the post. Reports suggest that he is being considered for the post of Energy Secretary in the central government.
If VP Joy refuses to take up the position of state Chief Secretary, Manoj Kumar, who is also on deputation, will be the favorite for the post.
However, if Manoj Kumar refuses to return to Kerala, TK Jose will be the next Chief Secretary of Kerala. TK Jose will retire from service in June 2022.