National / World

In a first, EC orders end to poll campaign in Bengal, removes 2 top officials


New Delhi, May 15 (IANS): In an unprecedented step, the Election Commission on Wednesday ordered end to poll campaign from 10 p.m. on Thursday in West Bengals remaining 9 Lok Sabha constituencies which go to the polls on May 19, cutting it short by a day in view of the widespread violence witnessed in the state.

The Election Commission (EC) also relieved with immediate effect West Bengal's Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya for "having interfered in the process of conducting elections."

Rajeev Kumar, ADG CID, was also relieved from his post and attached to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, with orders to report on duty at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The EC invoked, for the first time, Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the poll panel special powers to control and give directions for holding elections.

"There will be no election campaign in the 9 Parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal from 10 p.m. tomorrow till the conclusion of polls," an EC official said at a press conference here.

The campaigning would have normally ended at 5 p.m. on Friday, like at the 50 other seats across six states and one Union Territory which go to the polls in the final phase on May 19.

The decisions have been "taken as an action on violence in West Bengal on Tuesday," the EC official said.

"The Election Commission is deeply anguished over the vandalisation of Vidyasagar's statue," the official added.

The decision comes a day after widespread violence was witnessed in Kolkata during a roadshow conducted by BJP President Amit Shah.

The constituencies -- Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata (South) and Kolkata (North) -- are going to the polls in the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 19.

"This is probably the first time that the EC has invoked Article 324 in this manner, but it may not be the last in case of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner," the official said.

The EC also said that the Chief Secretary of the state will look after the charge of the Principal Secretary (Home). 

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Comment on this article

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Thu, May 16 2019

    Mota-bhai did everything possible to upset the apple-cart of Ms Banerjee's party and government.

    There are reports that the people invited to attend his rallies had come fully prepared with street-battle weapons.

    None of these bullying tactics worked in Ms Banerjee Bengal. Mota-bhai had to leave the leave the place with his tail between his legs.

    So, I was quite expecting such a move by the Election Commission.

    The people of Bengal can see clearly what is happening.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Alphonse Rodrigues, Udupi

    Wed, May 15 2019

    Why the Election Commission did not stop campaigning Elections for Bengal on today, Wednesday, itself.
    Instead of Tomorrow Thursday.
    I condemn Election Commissions Biased decision.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Patriot vM, Kota

    Wed, May 15 2019

    This unprecedented action would have been warranted by the unprecedented situation in Bengal. But EC is not doing its job properly. It bows down before the ruling party at centre. All these unruly speeches are a result of unprecedented length of the election process - from April 11, to May 19 in 7 phases. In the absence of better thoughts rivals resort to mud slinging at one another. Perhaps this has been done to facilitate the ruling party to get time to see through the campaign suiting its own interest. The EC has a lot of things to explain to the nation.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • SmR, Karkala

    Wed, May 15 2019

    Voting for the nine seats in the state will be held in the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls on 19 May. The counting is scheduled for 23 May.

    For Bengalis, the importance of being Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who is a great reformer asa holy cow for Bengal. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is a revered scholar and social reformer whose contribution towards education and empowerment of women in the country was remarkable. Most schoolchildren in the state have learned the Bengali alphabet from his ‘Borno Porichoy’ (Introduction to the alphabets), is still used as the introductory text to learn Bengali alphabets.

    Now the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is openly asking to avenge the anger for damaging the burst voting against BJP, Election Commission of India doesn't want votes to be swayed toward 'Trinamool' in the last leg of elections were every seat matters in this Lok Sabha elections.

    So Election Commission once again favoring the BJP ending campaigning day earlier with the excuse of law and order problem. But the ECI not interested in investigating the violence created by the BJP using outside goons.
    Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga whose appointment as BJP’s Delhi unit spokesperson had raised several questions because of his violent past; was arrested by the Kolkata Police. Isn’t he the same guy, who slapped Supreme court lawyer Prashant Bhushan in Delhi?
    Why the Election Commission of India is silent on BJP's organized violence which Amit Shah brought goons from outside Kolkata?
    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [6] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • BAISHWANAR BANERJEE, Kolkata

    Thu, May 16 2019

    Why are bjp rallies only targeted in west bengal and nowhere else in the country? Recent photographic evidence shows trinamool youth congress leaders demolishing the statue. Do not comment without knowing the situation in west bengal. Mamata realizes that she cannot indulge in booth capturing and proxy voting in kolkata so has to unleash her cadres to damage statues of iconoclasts and gather sympathy votes

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, May 15 2019

    Was Uttar Pradesh Peaceful ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

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