New Delhi: Taking exception, Election Commission on Tuesday rejected the response of the West Bengal chief secretary to its show cause notice issued to Mamata Banerjee for prima facie violating the model code, and asked her to personally respond to it by 22 April.
In a strongly-worded letter issued to Banerjee on Tuesday, the poll watchdog made it clear that the notice was issued to her in her capacity as Trinamool Congress head and not as chief minister of West Bengal.
Noting that "no response from you (Banerjee) has been received by the Commission so far", the EC missive said, "the Commission, hereby makes it clear that the aforesaid notice was issued to you for MCC violation related to you as Chairperson of the All India Trinamool Congress and not to the state government of West Bengal, and therefore, the reply to that notice should have come to the Commission from you and not from (Chief Secretary) Basudeb Banerjee."
It was also emphasised that if she fails to respond by April 22, "the Commission shall take a decision without further reference to you."
While in the first notice she was referred to as Chief Minister, West Bengal, this time Banerjee has been referred to as Chairperson, Trinamool Congress.
The West Bengal chief secretary had written to the Commission on behalf of the Trinamool Congress chief, who was served with a show cause notice last week for announcing creation of a new district in the state where elections are being held.
A defiant Mamata had responded to the EC missive at an election rally by saying that "on the first day of the Bengali new year, the EC has sent me a show cause notice over things I had said. I will say it again, I will say it a thousand times."
The Commission has already shunted out Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar over allegations of bias towards the ruling party.
The letter, issued on Tuesday in New Delhi by the poll panel is learnt to have been received by Banerjee this afternoon.