NEW DELHI/MOGA: Accusing the Election Commission of being "biased", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked why the poll panel ordered campaign be stopped in West Bengal at 10 pm Thursday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies in the state.
In the first such action in India's electoral history, the poll panel on Wednesday invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to end campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies at 10 pm on Thursday, a day before its scheduled deadline, following violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Polling for the nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal will be held on May 19.
During his election campaign at Moga in Punjab, Kejriwal told reporters that he strongly condemns the "attitude" of the EC.
"We strongly condemn the attitude of the Election Commission. Why was the campaign ordered to be stopped after Modiji's rallies. We have never seen this biased EC in the history of the country," the AAP national convener said.
Expressing his support to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he hoped that the people of the state "will teach Modi a lesson in the polls".
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party volunteers joined in a protest Mobile Torch Rally in Chittaranjan Park area with a group of citizens to protest the violence in West Bengal.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj, who participated in the protest, said, "What is happening in West Bengal is extremely serious and shows our democracy is in danger."
"The Election Commission has failed in its impartiality test. Its oft-repeated slogan of level playing field has been reduced to a joke. If the situation was so serious that the EC felt campaigning had to be stopped then why was it not stopped immediately?" he posed.
"It is extremely shameful the bust of one of the greatest social reformers Shri Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar-ji was destroyed. There is video evidence that the BJP was behind this shameful act. All of us need to stand in solidarity with Mamata Banerjee and the people of West Bengal," he added.
BJP and TMC supporters Tuesday fought pitched battles on the streets of Kolkata during a massive road show by Amit Shah, who escaped unhurt but was forced to cut short the jamboree and had to be escorted to safety by the police.
Parts of the city plunged into a welter of violence as his convoy was attacked with stones by alleged TMC supporters from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College, triggering a clash between supporters of the two parties.
Furious BJP workers retaliated, and during the clash a bust of polymath-social reformer bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar inside the college campus was damaged.