Poll violence: EC cuts short campaigning for final phase in WB

Poll violence: EC cuts short  campaigning for final phase in WB

NEW DELHI, May 15: The Election Commission on Wednesday cut short campaigning for final phase of polling in nine Lok Sabha seats of West Bengal by a day and removed key officials from the state in the wake of violence during BJP president Amit Shah ‘s roadshow yesterday.
The poll panel ordered that campaigning in the state will end at 10 p.m. on Thursday. This is a day before the scheduled end of campaigning, as the state votes in the last phase of elections on Sunday, May 19.
The EC has ordered the removal of principal secretary (Home) and additional director general, CID from their postings in West Bengal.
The poll panel also ordered the transfer of ADG CID Rajeev Kumar to the ministry of home affairs and asked him to report to the central ministry by 10am tomorrow.
The unprecedented EC action comes a day after Kolkata witnessed clashes between the BJP and TMC supporters during a roadshow held by BJP chief Amit Shah. During the violence, a bust of Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised.
The Election Commission, perhaps for the first time, invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to curtail the campaigning.
Earlier today, BJP chief Amit Shah accused the Election Commission of “double standards” for remaining a “mute spectator” to rigging and violation of the poll code in the state.
The BJP chief had claimed election observers in their reports have said polls in the state cannot be conducted fairly till such miscreants are arrested but the EC did not act. It raises a lot of questions on the election watchdog’s impartiality, he said.
The TMC on the other hand met the Election Commission and submitted evidence to show that violence seen during BJP president Amit Shah’s Kolkata roadshow on Tuesday was perpetrated by the BJP workers.
The TMC delegation handed over video footage to the Election Commission, which they claimed showed that the BJP workers had vandalised the statue of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.(Agencies)