NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move in the electoral history of India, the Election Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution on Wednesday, ordering all campaigning in nine remaining West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 PM on Thursday night — a day before its scheduled deadline — in the wake of the clash between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The EC also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID from their postings in West Bengal, while directing West Bengal police to speedily identify the accused involved in the arson, vandalism and violence.
The EC action came on a day of fast-paced developments with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee trading charges of inciting violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s massive road show in Kolkata on
Tuesday, which saw the destruction of a bust of the iconic reformer-educationist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on University Street.
Both parties served video-clips to prove that the other was responsible for the violence.
“Didi’s goons carrying guns and bombs are bent upon destruction. Her government is out to destroy everything in the state. People’s conviction and courage will evict the torturous rule,” PM Narendra Modi told a poll rally at Taki on the Indo-Bangla border in North 24 Parganas district.
Charging her with the destruction of Bengal’s ‘Bhadralok’ culture, he said, “Democracy has given you the CM’s chair and you are killing it. You said openly two days ago that you will take revenge inch by inch and within 24 hours, your men attacked Shah to fulfill your agenda of spreading terror,” he said.
Mamata alleged the EC action was taken at the behest of Shah and Narendra Modi and was ‘unethical, unconstitutional, undemocratic and politically biased”.
“Will this secure BJP’s victory? This is the EC’s prize to BJP for smashing Vidyasagar’s bust,” she said.
Shah said in Delhi, “TMC, rattled by the BJP’s rapid rise in Bengal had ordered the rioting, targeting me. I would not have come back alive but for CRPF protection.”