Soumen Mitra to be new CP Kolkata, back at the helm during Assembly elections

Mitra was lauded for his work during 2016 Assembly polls.

Former police commissioner Soumen Mitra is back at the helm of Kolkata Police. The Mamata Banerjee government has taken the decision to transfer CP Kolkata Anuj Sharma and to bring Mitra back.

Appointing Mitra as the Kolkata CP is significant for various reasons. In the last Assembly elections of 2016, the then CP Kolkata Rajeev Kumar was transferred and Mitra was appointed the CP by the Election Commission. Mitra had taken over as CP on April 13, 2016, and was lauded for the way he had conducted the elections in the city.

However, since Mitra’s appointment was done by the EC, Mamata Banerjee – right after the Trinamool Congress had won the majority – had brought back Kumar as the CP. This was done even before she was sworn in as the CM. Many feel that she was upset about the EC transferring some top officials in 2016.

Under this backdrop, Banerjee herself choosing Mitra as the CP ahead of the Assembly elections, is being seen as a bold step in the run-up to the elections.

There were talks of the administration keen on transferring some officers as there is a general feeling that the EC authorities may transfer some top officers ahead of the elections as soon as the dates are announced and the model code of conduct comes into effect. Elections for West Bengal – scheduled in April-May 2021 – may be announced in the coming week.

As Kolkata CP Anuj Sharma was transferred by the EC ahead of the Lok Sabha 2019 polls, the government had decided to transfer the top officer of Kolkata Police. The decision to transfer him was taken before there is any such opportunity for the EC to do the same. Several other top police officers are also being transferred.

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