Stopping Bengal campaign is gross over-reaction & an utter failure of EC

Figure 3 Congress pre-1996 trend

Figure 3 Congress pre-1996 trend

In an unprecedented decision, the Election Commission on Wednesday ordered that campaigning for the final round of the Lok Sabha polls on Sunday will halt in West Bengal at 10 p.m. on Thursday. "I have travelled across the country and looking at the popular response, I am fully confident that the BJP after fifth and sixth phase of the elections has crossed the majority figure", Amit Shah said during a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi. They are Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary (home and hill affairs) and ADG (CID) Rajeev Kumar, the controversial former Kolkata police commissioner.

Modi also said that a section of students of the Calcutta University have started to reveal "the dirty politics" of Banerjee and her party leaders who were behind Tuesday's clashes which left a number of persons injured on both sides. BJP chief also alleged that the West Bengal police watched the violence as mute spectators as the TMC workers vandalised BJP posters.

The EC has also transferred out two bureaucrats from West Bengal for "interfering in election process".

"If a ban is intended for 72 hours, why is it starting at 10 pm tomorrow?"

West Bengal has a history of election-related violence, initially between the communists who ran the state for almost three decades and the main opposition Congress party.

This is the first time that the EC has invoked Article 324 of the Constitution, but "this may not be the last time", deputy election commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar declared. "The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. We condemn such an incident", Pilot said at a rally here. But the pillars holding up Bengal's intellectual pride are taking the hit.

Alleging that Banerjee's Bengal was an example of misrule, Modi said the people of the state have chose to free themselves from the "autocratic rule of didi" in the coming days.

The vandalisation of Vidyasagar's bust and clashes during Shah's road show in Kolkata on Tuesday triggered a fierce blame game between BJP and the Trinamool Congress. The violence broke out during a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah in Kolkata.

On its part, the TMC released videos to claim that "BJP goons" damaged the statue of Vidyasagar and said the videos not only establish what the saffron party did, but proved that Shah is a "liar" and a "dhokebaaz" (betrayer).

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