Monday, May 27, 2019 | Last Update : 02:35 PM IST

Mamata thanks Oppn for backing her over EC's decision to curtail campaigns

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : May 16, 2019, 11:40 am IST
Updated : May 16, 2019, 4:24 pm IST

The EC's decision came in the wake of Tuesday's violence between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata.

The EC on Wednesday ordered campaigning in the nine parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal to end at 10 pm on Thursday night, a day before its scheduled deadline. (Photo: File)
 The EC on Wednesday ordered campaigning in the nine parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal to end at 10 pm on Thursday night, a day before its scheduled deadline. (Photo: File)

Mumbai: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday thanked the leaders of opposition parties, who came out in her support as she protested against the Election Commission's decision to cut short the poll campaign duration in the state.

"Thanks and gratitude to @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @INCIndia, @ncbn and others for expressing solidarity and support to us and the people of #Bengal. EC's biased actions under the directions of the #BJP are a direct attack on democracy. People will give a befitting reply," she tweeted.

The poll panel on Wednesday cut short campaigning for the last round of voting in West Bengal, in the wake of violence between the BJP and the TMC workers in Kolkata.

The campaign closing time has been advanced to Thursday 10 pm in the nine Lok Sabha seats - Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Calcutta South and Calcutta North.

Accusing the Election Commission of acting on the instructions of the BJP, Banerjee said the move was "unethical and unconstitutional".

DMK President M K Stalin alleged the EC had different set of rules for the "ruling party", apparently referring to the BJP, and the opposition. "Ban on campaign in nine constituencies in #WestBengal. The EC has one set of rules for the Opposition and another for the ruling party. Highly condemnable," he said in a tweet.

Naidu in a series of tweets alleged that the EC turned a deaf ear towards the woes of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led party.

"It is disturbing to see prompt action by the ECI on the complaint by BJP and Amit Shah in West Bengal, while conveniently ignoring the complaints of TMC," Naidu tweeted.

Continuing his tirade against the Election Commission, the Chief Minister said, "Giving clean chits to Narendra Modi, taking unjustified prompt action after false complaints by BJP, willful inaction on genuine complaints by opposition parties; clearly raises doubts about the neutrality, impartiality, and fairness of the Election Commission of India."

"It's high time the ECI acts on the complaints made by opposition parties to restore its credibility and fulfil its constitutional mandate of conducting free and fair elections. The institutional integrity of the ECI and integrity of the democratic process of elections is at stake," he tweeted.

In another tweet, Naidu added, "It is even more disturbing to see conspicuous inaction of the ECI regarding the complaint of 22 political parties of the opposition, to validate EVM counting with the counting of at least 50% VVPAT slips in each assembly constituency."

BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday accused the Election Commission of India (ECI) of acting under pressure from the Central government, a day after the poll body cut short the campaign period in West Bengal by a day.

Questioning the timing of the campaign ban, Mayawati claimed the EC was being accommodative of the Prime Minister's rallies in the state.

"It is very sad that the Election Commission has banned campaigning in West Bengal, but from 10 pm today just because the Prime Minister has two rallies in the day. If they had to impose this ban, why not from today morning? This is unfair and EC is acting under pressure. We condemn this in the strongest terms. If a ban had to be imposed it should have been from today morning itself," Mayawati told ANI.

She also attacked the Chief Election Commissioner of India and said, "This also proves that under the incumbent Election Commissioner the elections aren't being conducted freely and fairly. This is very dangerous for democracy."

The BSP supremo also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of targeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"Since the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal has continuously been in news. For this, the BJP and RSS are fully responsible. Regular election-related violence in West Bengal shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his disciple Amit Shah are leading the campaign of targeting the Mamata Banerjee government since a long time," she said.

Calling it a 'dangerous and unjust trend', Mayawati also alleged that BJP is targeting the West Bengal Chief Minister in order to deviate attention from their 'failures'.

"The targeting of Mamata Banerjee is unjust and doesn't befit especially the Prime Minister of the country. Different types of tactics are being used against West Bengal CM and people are witnessing how she is fighting against this. BJP is trying to flare up West Bengal issues so much that people forget about important issues and their failures," she said.

The Congress came down heavily on the Election Commission on Wednesday after it cut short the campaign period in West Bengal in view of violence, saying it has been a "shameful fall for a once-independent constitutional body".

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the use of Article 324 by the EC is an "unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution" as the poll body has failed to maintain a level playing field.

"Today is a dark day in the history of democracy. EC's order on W.Bengal negates the due process under Art 14 & 21 and abdicates its Constitutional duty under Art 324 to ensure level playing field. This is an unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution!" he tweeted.

He alleged that the poll panel had failed to act on his party's complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

"Over 11 complaints filed with EC against PM Modi & Amit Shah- No action. Violence by BJP and intimidation by Amit Shah-No action. Now, permit Modiji's rallies on 16th & ban all others. This is a shameful fall for a once independent Constitutional Body," he said in another tweet.

Polling for nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal will take place on May 19.

The sharp reaction came after the poll body took unprecedented steps by invoking Article 324 of the Constitution to curtail the campaign period and transferred key officials in the West Bengal government.

The EC on Wednesday ordered campaigning in the nine parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal to end at 10 pm on Thursday night, a day before its scheduled deadline. PM Modi is scheduled to address rallies in Laxmikantapur and Dum Dum in West Bengal.

The EC's decision came in the wake of Tuesday's violence between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata.

 

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Tags: 2019 lok sabha elections, congress, bjp, election commission, west bengal
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi