Says EC acting at the behest of BJP after it cut short campaign
WEB DESK / AGENCIES
TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today questioned the Election Commission after it cut short campaigning by a day in the state in view of incidents of poll violence.
“EC is acting at the behest of BJP,” Banerjee said in a press conference held at Kalighat today.
Attacking PM Narendra Modi, the TMC supremo said, “Modi knows that the person standing against him, challenging him is strong, which is why he is doing all these tactics.”
Alleging that the violence that broke out in Kolkata yesterday was “Amit Shah’s doing,” Banerjee questioned the poll panel for not taking action against the BJP president. She said, “Why didn’t EC sack Amit Shah and take action?”
She also claimed that the PM Narendra Modi had been given time to finish his rallies as the EC has barred election campaigning in West Bengal after 10 pm tomorrow.
She said, “Tomorrow Modi has a rally in Bengal and after that campaigns will stop. Is this a democratic decision? All RSS people are controlling Election Commission.”
She termed EC’s decision as “unfair, unethical and politically biased,” and said that PM Modi had been given time to finish his two rallies tomorrow. Lambasting the poll panel, the TMC chief said, “Why don’t you send show cause notice to Modi, Shah? Are you working for them? We respect you (EC), you should respect other leaders too.”
She claimed that EC’s unprecedented decision to cut short campaigning in the state by 24 hours had been taken in order to “sabotage” her rallies. She alleged, “This is being done to sabotage my rallies. I had my rally day after, Modi has tomorrow. I will crunch my schedule and hold as many rallies as I can tomorrow. Rest, people love me, know me. They will stand by me.”
West Bengal governor KN Tripathi today condemned the desecration of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue in yesterday’s violence during Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata. He said, “As chancellor of Calcutta University, I’m pained at the vandalising of Vidyasagar statue. The real culprit for breaking the statue must be traced out&suitably punished. Efforts should also be made by Calcutta University at the earliest to install a new statue.”
After the Election Commission took action on Mamata Banerjee government over violence in Kolkata on Tuesday and shunted officials of the government, the West Bengal governor has also submitted a scathing report against the TMC government in connection with alleged poll violence in the state. “No free and fair polls in West Bengal,” state governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has purportedly said in his report to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Meanwhile, a day after clashes broke out between TMC and BJP supporters during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, fresh poll violence was reported from the state on Wednesday. RSS office was allegedly attacked in Kolkata today, with cops making a timely intervention to contain the situation. Police also had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd, Times Now reported.
EC cuts short election campaigning in West Bengal
In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission on Wednesday announced that election campaigning in West Bengal will end tomorrow (Thursday), cutting it short by 24 hours. Noting the violence that erupted during the roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata, the poll panel invoked its plenary powers under Article 324 to curtail campaigning in the state before the last phase of polling on May 19.
In its press release, the Election Commission stated that it is the first time that it had to invoke Article 324 in this manner in order to cut short election campaign in a state. The EC has barred political parties from campaigning for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections after 10 pm on Thursday (May 16).
The nine constituencies in the state which go to polls on May 19 are: Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South and North Kolkata. The Election Commission also condemned the desecration of the statue of Bengali reformer Ishwar Chandra VIdyasagar during the violence on Tuesday. “The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration,” the poll panel said.