Hours before the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission (EC) on Friday cracked the whip on the bureaucracy and police. The poll panel officials said the District Magistrates of Bahraich, Deoria, Sonebhadra and Kannauj have been shifted with immediate effect. Excise Commissioner Bhavnath has also been removed and Mratyunjaya Kumar Narayan posted in his place. Police chiefs of two districts — Hardoi and Ghazipur — have also been given marching orders by the EC. Gorakhpur DIG Shivsagar Singh has been replaced by Neelabja Chowdhary, Azamgarh DIG Dharamveer has also been removed and Uday Shankar Jaiswal appointed in his place. IG Bareilly zone Vijay Singh Meena has also been replaced and Vijay Prakash given the charge.
Assem Arun has been named the new IG of Varanasi and Suvendra Kumar Bhagat removed from this post. Bahraich District Magistrate Abhay has been replaced by Ajay Deep Singh. Kannauj DM Ashok Chandra has been removed and Jai Prakash Sagar appointed in his place. Kannauj is the parliamentary constituency of Dimple Yadav, wife of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Deoria DM Anita Srivastava has been replaced by Abrar Ahmad and Sonebhadra DM Chandra Bhushan Singh has been removed and Pramod Kumar Upadhaya appointed as the new district magistrate.
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Hardoi Superintendent of Police Rajeev Malhotra has been removed and replaced by Chandra Prakash, Ghazipur SP Arvind Sen has been replaced by Subhash Chandra Dubey. The poll panel was handed over a list of officials by parties and many social organisations doubting their neutrality. Of some officials removed on Friday night, their relatives are contesting the state assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has petitioned the EC at least 10 times to also remove the state DGP Javeed Ahmad and chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar but the poll panel has not taken any action on these pleas so far.