Opposition slams EC for curtailing Bengal campaign

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A day after the Election Commission curtail campaigning in West Bengal for the last round of the national election over violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, opposition parties backed Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and accused the poll body of acting under pressure.

Mayawati accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of ‘planned targeting’ of Banerjee in a disgusting and dangerous manner.

The Election Commission on Wednesday said campaigning would end at 10 pm on Thursday instead of 5 pm on Friday because of the clashes during which a statue of iconic reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was smashed.

Mamata Banerjee accused the election body of an ‘undemocratic and biased decision’ that benefited the ruling BJP because the campaign ban would start right after the Prime Minister was done with his rallies in Bengal.

Mayawati echoed the view saying, “The Election Commission has banned campaigning in West Bengal, but from 10 pm today just because the PM has two rallies in the day. If they had to ban then why not from today morning? This is unfair and EC is acting under pressure.”

Besides, the Congress called the election panel’s move ‘an unpardonable betrayal of the constitution’ and alleged that the poll body had ‘become a pawn in the hands of the Modi-Shah duo’.

The order was aimed solely at giving a free pass to the PM’s rallies, said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, questioning whether the MCC (Model Code of Conduct) had become ‘Modi Code of Misconduct’.

ALSO READ: Kolkata: Violence at Amit Shah’s roadshow; stones thrown, vehicles burnt

On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu accused the poll watchdog of acting on BJP’s complaint while ignoring TMC’s grievances.

While the BJP says the poll watchdog’s decision is a validation of their complaint that Bengal has descended into anarchy. Union Minister Arun Jaitley wrote on Twitter: “A constitutional authority, the Election Commission of India, has effectively held Bengal to be a state in Anarchy. Repeatedly escalating violence, state supported Vandals, a partisan police and home department are the illustrations the ECI has given.”

In each phase of voting in the state has been marked by violence. Clashes erupted on Tuesday evening during Amit Shah’s first roadshow in Kolkata, which ended with the vandalizing of a statue of iconic 19th century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

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